Human Services

Faculty Advisor

Jan Duerden


Raising an Infant in a Jumpsuit: Canada’s need for a more contemporary approach to prison nurseries The purpose of my paper, “Raising an infant in a jumpsuit: Prison Nurseries,” is to address the complex problem of pregnant incarcerated women and what to do with their newborns. The rate of women imprisoned has risen substantially in recent decades, and with the increase has arisen the question: What to do when a woman gives birth while incarcerated? Although Canadian research would have been optimal for this paper, I found a huge gap in that very little research had been done on prison nurseries within Canada. Prison nurseries vary around the world; each country has its own criteria for participants; for the purpose of this paper, I focused on the United States’ system and its statistics. The research that I found on prison nurseries is very positive: lower rates of reincarnation for the mothers, stronger attachment between mother and baby, and relatively low risk to the baby’s physical health while in the nursery. This paper argues that prison nurseries are beneficial and that, although there are valid critiques, the benefits far outweigh them. Further research could be done on differing prison policies on nurseries in order to implement the most constructive prison nursery system in Canada.