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Policies and programs to reduce trauma for parents and pregnant people in custody

A new Urban Institute study of 41 women’s prisons and state departments of corrections evaluated available programs and services addressing trauma and victimization. As a part of this larger research, supportive and trauma-informed program and policy options for incarcerated pregnant people were identified. For example, a few prisons offer innovative doula programs to support people throughout their pregnancy and birth experience. A few facilities had abortion options available, although cost was still a significant barrier. Eight of the 41 facilities had breastfeeding programs that support meaningful connections between parent and child, despite physical separation. Authors say that one practice all facilities should end immediately is the use of restraints during pregnancy and labor, which is proven to be harmful (only 39 percent of the facilities in the study do not use restraints at all during pregnancy). Facilities can also do more to facilitate connections between parent and child to ease the potential trauma of separation. In particular, allowing special extended visits, remote video visits, and even community-based postdelivery programs can help maintain connections. #families