Many of these women are forced to serve their sentences away from their children, but some states, including Washington, have tried to change that.
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The Washington Corrections Center for Women has run the Residential Parenting Program for more than two decades, allowing women to raise their babies for up to 30 months while incarcerated. The program offers child care, parenting classes, educational opportunities and other support.
Host Sara Bernard spoke with journalists Amanda Snyder and Joseph O’Sullivan about their reporting on three mothers in the program who shared what it’s like going to prison while pregnant, raising their babies in incarceration and preparing for life once they’re released.