Thursday, September 16, 2021

Play

Hundreds of wealthy Americans back the Biden Build Back Better Act; Roger Stone is served with a warrant on live radio; and family caregivers are in need of assistance.

Play

Virginia gubernatorial candidates debate; former federal prosecutor Michael Sussmann indicted for lying to FBI; lawmakers set to question oil industry over climate disinformation; and FDA scientists express skepticism over booster shots.

Play

Lawsuits stall debt relief for America's Black farmers; Idaho hospitals using "critical care" protocols; grant money boosts rural towns in Utah and more conservation acreage could protect the iconic sage grouse.

MN First State to Ban Infant Separation in Prisons

Play

date within 90 days of the child being born. (Adobe Stock)

Wednesday, July 14, 2021   

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- In a few weeks, Minnesota will become the first state to end the practice of separating newborns from mothers held in prison.

On Aug. 1, the Department of Corrections will shift to placing the child and mother into community alternative settings, such as halfway houses. In Minnesota, the department said, 278 pregnant women were sentenced to prison between 2013 and 2020, most for nonviolent offenses.

Deb Fitzpatrick. policy and legislative affairs director of the Children's Defense Fund Minnesota, said her group was happy to see the policy eliminated. She said she sees it as part of a broader push in the legislative session to ensure all Minnesota infants have better outcomes.

"It shouldn't matter what your ZIP Code is or what your race is," she said. "If you're a baby, you need to get a good start in life."

She also cited an expansion of health coverage to mothers for a full year after the birth of a child. But Fitzpatrick said lawmakers missed some opportunities, such as a paid family-leave program. The infant separation change received broad bipartisan support, with backers noting the old policy is stressful for both infant and mother - and that it serves little purpose, with the median prison stay for a pregnant person in Minnesota at just under five months.

State Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn, DFL-Roseville, played a key role in crafting the legislation. She said the separation policy had been especially cruel, as it added to the racial gaps experienced by women within the correctional system.

"Disproportionately, we have Native women and women of color who are incarcerated," she said, "and then we're doing this practice that kind of exacts this trauma on multiple generations."

Researchers have noted that separation from their babies can make incarcerated mothers more vulnerable to mental-health issues, such as post-partum depression, and affect the child's development as well. Other states have similar programs, but they involve the baby residing at the prison with their mom - which Becker-Finn said lawmakers wanted to avoid.

Disclosure: Children's Defense Fund- Minnesota Chapter contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Children's Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Oregon's Hispanic population grew 30% from 2010 to 2020. (Gstudio/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Hispanic Heritage Month began this week, and will be celebrated through Oct. 15. Oregon has a rapidly growing Hispanic population…


Social Issues

SILVER SPRING, Md. -- As the Biden administration challenges a Texas law restricting abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, Planned Parenthood for …

Social Issues

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Social Security, the program credited with lifting 15 million older residents in Wyoming and across the U.S. out of poverty…


Arkansas' rental-assistance program has distributed funds to more than 3,200 households in the state. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas has made some changes to its state rent relief program to make it easier to distribute assistance to residents…

Environment

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The historic clean-energy bill signed into Illinois law yesterday includes measures from closing coal and natural gas plants by 2…

Indiana ranks 44th out of 50 states for bankruptcy. (Andriy Blokhin/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

INDIANAPOLIS -- A new coalition is forming to push back against predatory lending and urge state lawmakers to take action to protect consumers…

Social Issues

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- More than 200 high earners have written a letter urging Congress to raise taxes to help support social safety-net programs that …

Health and Wellness

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Limiting women's access to abortion and other reproductive health care can have a devastating impact on state economies. According …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021