Washington State’s Residential Parenting Program
An Integrated Public Health, Education, and Social Service Resource for Pregnant Inmates and Prison Mothers
Increases in the number of women incarcerated have created a corresponding need for health services for pregnant inmates. There have been relatively few comprehensive prison-based programs that address the prenatal health care needs of these expectant prisoners, as well as providing a safe and nurturing long-term environment for their infants. This paper outlines the key health care issues for female prison inmates and focuses on pregnant women and their unique health, educational, social, and vocational needs. An in-depth process analysis of a promising integrated program, Washington State’s Residential Parenting Program follows. Since most inmates return to their communities, prison programs for mothers that aim to reduce recidivism, enhance long-term public safety by providing a bridge between the institution and community, enhance the relationship between mother and child, and improve the prospects for the family should be a priority.