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Programs for Incarcerated Mothers

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2003
35 pages
This report presents a review of programs for incarcerated mothers and their children in the State of Idaho, as well as some other States with limited evaluative information on the effectiveness of these programs.
In response to a request by the Idaho Joint Legislative Oversight Committee to review programs for incarcerated mothers and their children. The focus was on programs offered while mothers were incarcerated or imprisoned and not community-based or transitional programs. The report is divided into three main sections: (1) programs for incarcerated mothers in Idaho, (2) programs for incarcerated mothers in other States, and (3) cost of programs in other States and effectiveness of programs. Currently, Idaho has approximately 600 women in corrections custody with an estimate of 70 percent of the female inmates being mothers. Idaho Department of Corrections currently offers visitation, camp, and reading programs for incarcerated mothers and their children. These programs are similar to other States. However, the department does not have an in-prison nursery program. Based on national estimates, 10 percent of children born to incarcerated mothers are placed in foster care while the mother is incarcerated. Determining the cost effectiveness of these programs requires a comparison of the overall costs of the program based on three factors: (1) any savings identified through foster care and adoption services; (2) any cost avoidance from reducing reincarceration; and (3) the number of women potentially served by the program. Cost effectiveness is not reported in this report because detailed program cost information for Idaho and other States is not available. Appendixes A-B