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An Alternative to Mother and Infants Behind Bars

How One Prison Nursery Program Impacted Attachment and Nurturing for Mothers Who Gave Birth While Incarcerated

Kwarteng-Amaning, Veronica, PhD, RN, MHA, CCRN, NE-BC; Svoboda, Jacquelyn, MSN, RN, WHNP-BC; Bachynsky, Natalie, PhD, FNP-C, RN; Linthicum, Lannette, MD, CCHP-A, FACP

The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing: April/June 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 2 - p 116–125
doi: 10.1097/JPN.0000000000000398
Feature Articles

The number of women in United States prisons has increased, with the most rapid growth among women of childbearing age. Detrimental effects on maternal-infant attachment have been shown to exist when mothers and infants are separated at birth. The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine the impact of an out-of-prison nursery program, Baby and Mother Bonding Initiative (BAMBI), on maternal-infant attachment and nurturing competencies among women who gave birth while incarcerated. A sample of 41 participants was recruited through a “Closed” BAMBI Alumni Facebook page and nonprobability snowball sampling. Participants were surveyed, and responses were submitted online or via mail. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, correlation coefficients, multiple regression, and logistic regression. Results indicated that the number of children living in the mother's household was a significant predictor of positive maternal nurturance. Inversely, the high number of children in the household was the most significant predictor of increased risk for infants to have insecure attachment to mothers. As the number of women giving birth in prisons continues to trend upward, the need for more programs to promote best outcomes for both mother and infants is crucial.

University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas.

Corresponding Author: Veronica Kwarteng-Amaning, PhD, RN, MHA, CCRN, NE-BC, 301 University BLVD, Galveston, TX 77555 (

The authors acknowledge the UTMB Presidents Cabinet Award (PCA) 2016-2018 for providing funding for the editor, Jeff Meserve. The authors also acknowledge all of contributions from Mary O'Keefe PhD, JD, RN, CNS Psych/Mental Health, FAAN, Elizabeth Moore, Cheyenne Martin, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Tammy Cupit, PhD, RN-BC.

Disclosure: The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Each author has indicated that he or she has met the journal's requirements for Authorship.

Submitted for publication: December 10, 2018; accepted for publication: January 21, 2019.

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