Perinatal Incarceration Initiative

In 2017, there were 81 women who delivered babies while incarcerated. Pregnant offenders housed in county jails are routinely sent to the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh. While North Carolina prisons no longer will permit the use of leg or waist restraints on pregnant inmates at certain times during labor, there is still much more work to be done. Perinatal women have a variety of unique physical health, mental health, and social needs that are difficult or impossible to meet while they are incarcerated.

We believe that supporting perinatal women should involve a holistic approach that promotes not only maternal health, but also the bonding that promotes healthy families upon reentry. The Carolina Justice Policy Center aims to bring awareness to the current state of perinatal incarceration, to engage women in creative projects that promote stronger bonds with their new families, and to support young children of incarcerated women.

As a result, we mobilize community members to advocate for perinatal women who are incarcerated. We also directly and holistically improve the transitions of perinatal women into motherhood and to improve the well-being of their families.