Bill Would Provide Special Programs for State Prisoners Raising Small Kids

Should people who are the primary caregivers of small children get special consideration when it comes to incarceration in the state prison system?

News Radio 1200 WOAI reports lawmakers are considering a measure which would call for a special probation or deferred adjudication for a convict who is the primary caregiver of a child under the age of 18. Supporters say children should not be victims of their parents' wrongdoing, and this would end the plight of children who are caught up in the prison system.

Mia Greer told a State House committee today that she went to prison for assaulting her abusive husband, and when she was no longer available to care for her children, custody was given to the abusive husband.

"They took me from the family and left them with the person who was the abuser," she said.

Supporters say many state prison inmates tell them that they veered off into criminal activity as teenagers, largely because their primary caregiver was incarcerated. Statistics show the number of women in the state prison system has risen by 906% since 1980, and 60% of women in prison have children under the age of 18.

Coretta Brown says a program would have helped her kids a lot.

"I think I really would have been successful, and I would have been able to raise my one year old daughter, who I was forced to leave for 6 1/2 years."

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