PSN was very glad to welcome Ms Shelith Hansbro, former Warden of The Moms and Babies Program at the Decatur Correctional Center (part of the Illinois Department of Corrections in the USA) as our distinguished speaker at the PSN Lecture Series for 2019. This year’s theme is ‘Improving Practise for Children and Whanau in Need’.
Ms Hansbro’s lecture, entitled “Reducing Re-offending for Women with Babies and Young Children, Within a Safety-First Context”, shares insights from the IDOC programme which allows qualified mothers to keep their newborn babies with them and supports the incarcerated mother in developing and nurturing a bond with her infant.
The successful programme offers “tough love” to inmates, starting with basic parenting programmes and including academic classes, life skills and drug and alcohol counselling. More than 90 women have gone through the programme in 11 years, and as of December 2018, the program had an 80 percent success rate.
New Zealand currently has three Mothers with Babies Units in: Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility, Arohata Prison (Wellington), and Christchurch Women’s Prison.