Female offenders are provided appropriate programs and services to meet their physical, social, and psychological needs
Women account for approximately 7 percent of the federal inmate population. Nationwide, women are a growing correctional population, however in the Bureau of Prisons, women have maintained a steady proportion of the overall population. The Bureau houses women in 29 facilities across the country.
Women in Bureau custody are offered many of the same educational and treatment programs that are available to male offenders; however, women in prison differ from their male counterparts in significant ways. For example, women are more likely to experience economic hardship, employment instability, and fewer vocational skills as compared with males. Since they are more likely than men to have a history of trauma and abuse, which poses additional challenges for reentry, specialized initiatives and programs that are trauma-informed and address women's gender-based needs are offered at female facilities.
Mothers and Children
Women in prison are often the primary or sole caregivers of children prior to incarceration. The Bureau provides female inmates with medical and social services related to pregnancy, birth control, child birth and placement. Inmates are medically screened for pregnancy upon admission. For eligible offenders who will give birth during their incarceration, there are two programs offered to assist these mothers before, during, and after childbirth: Mothers and Infants Together (MINT) and the Residential Parenting Program (RPP).
The MINT Program is a community residential program that aims to assist offenders during the last two months of pregnancy. Eligible inmates are transferred to a Residential Reentry Center and remain there for up to three months after birth to bond with their children before returning to the institution to complete their sentence. Inmates may be permitted to stay longer. MINT locations include Phoenix, AZ; Tallahassee, FL; Springfield, IL; Fort Worth, TX; and Hillsboro, WV.
The Residential Parenting Program allows minimum security inmates with a sentence of less than 30 months the opportunity to reside with their babies after birth in a supervised environment for up to 30 months. During this time, the mothers also receive a variety of services such a mental health, medical care, vocational training, and child care. RPP is offered to pregnant inmates through the Washington Department of Corrections (WADOC).
If necessary, the childbirth will take place at a hospital outside the institution and arrangements are made with outside social service agencies to aid the inmate in finding an appropriate placement for the child. Newborn children are not permitted to return to the institution with their mothers, however, they may accompany an adult visitor in accordance with visiting policies.