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Convict Mothers Raising Newborns in Prison?

A look at various bills being considered in Hartford.

ROCK-A-BYE BABY

Lawmakers are considering legislation that would study the feasibility of allowing female offenders who give birth in prison to care for their children on site.

State Rep. DebraLee Hovey, a Republican representing Newtown and in the 112th House District is one of several co-sponsors who support the idea of a nursery facility at the Connecticut Correctional Institution in Niantic.

Susan Quinian, Executive Director of the nonprofit Families in Crisis, Inc. said passage of HB 5288 would help strengthen vulnerable families.

“When offenders go to jail their families do time too,” Quinian said in testimony before the Judiciary Committee. “Offenders who do not have positive family support often re-offend and tragically studies who that their children are more likely to repeat the cycle. The economic and social costs to our citizens and communities are enormous.”

Leo C. Arnone, Commissioner of the Department of Corrections, also supports the bill.

“Research clearly points to the importance of the mother-child emotional and psychological bonds and the fact that strong familial ties factor heavily in successful reentry into the community and lower recidivism rates,” Arnone said in his testimony.

HEALTH CARE WORKING GROUP

As the U.S. Supreme Court considers the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, the Public Health Committee is considering creating working group to address certain aspects of the Act.

State Rep. Vicki Nardello, a Democrat representing Bethany, Cheshire and Prospect in the 46th House District sits on the committee and will consider HB 5527.  The proposed legislation would create a working group comprised of Commissioner of Public Health, the president of the Connecticut Public Health Association, and representatives of hospitals, health care providers, community health centers and local health departments to study and make recommendations for funding to strengthen community health programs under Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care act. 

The working group would have until Jan. 1, 2013 to present findings.

“Connecticut ahs the fourth highest per capita healthcare spending in the country,” Katherine Lewis, Advocacy Committee Co-chair and President-elect of the Connecticut Public Health Association, said in testimony before the Health Committee. Because of that, Lewis said the proposal to form a working group is “prudent and timely.”

VOTER VERIFICATION

“If you want to buy alcohol, you need to show a photo ID,” said , a Republican representing Fairfield in the 134th House District. “What is so unreasonable about asking for a photo id to vote?”

Hwang, who sits on the Government Administration and Election Committee, said allowing people to register to vote on Election Day was just one of several proposed changes to the state’s election laws. But it is the most controversial. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Secretary of the State of Connecticut Denise Merrill support the bill, which will be debated on the House floor. The bill would require proof of address, including copies of utility bills to register. The Republicans wanted the bill to require registrants show photo identification.

Hwang said because one needs a photo ID to apply for many state benefits, it isn’t onerous to require a photo ID to vote.

“The opposition argues asking for an ID disenfranchises the elderly or a minority population of the population who don’t drive and have drivers licenses, If you don’t one, we [the state] will provide one for you,” Hwang said.

Only eight states allow same day registration and 30 states require photo IDs.

Fred March 26, 2012 at 03:44 PM
It seems to me to be one very silly idea. (Convicts raising children in jail). Never mind the added expense. One must, at a minimum, consider the child first. A person in jail has already demonstrated adequately, that they are not a fit parent. The articles statistics state that children of offenders are more likely to go down the same path. If they really want to pass a "good law," pass one that says that pregnant offenders give up all legal rights to the child and then give the baby to people who wish to adopt. If jail is thought to be a deterrent to crime, wouldn't a law like this be an additional deterrent?
Leah Salomoni (Editor) March 26, 2012 at 03:46 PM
"Given the abyssimal state of foster care in this State/Country, i'd say it's a viable solution - or at least a step in the right direction, considering we work toward eventual re-unification of parent/child. But what are we really talking about here - building orphanges next to prisons? Considering the growing prison populations, this may just have to happen." - Laura Lenhard (Shelton Patch Facebook)

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