The major reason for the doubling of the women prison population in the last decade is drugs; the major casualty is the damage done to families as mothers serve prison terms.
CBS News correspondents visited Bedford Hills Correctional Institution, the only women's maximum security prison in New York. It is also the only prison in the country that lets women keep their newborn babies with them. This gives some of the women the opportunity to be the main caregiver for their child and to have responsibility for their child. The idea is that the more family-orientated a women becomes, the less likely she will repeat a life of crime when she is released. The maximum time a baby can stay is eighteen months, then they are released to family or a foster home. An alternative to Bedford Hills is available to non-violent first-time felons ages 16-26. They can choose a grueling six-month program called shock-incarceration which gives inmates a chance to get schooling and is run in a military manner. This report contains interviews with several women prisoners and examines their feelings toward the children they left when they entered prison. The program also presents a picture of day-to-day prison life.
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Program Description (Demonstrative)
United States of America
Transcript from 48 Hours, Show #81, November 2, 1982