BAMBI Enters the Texas Prison System
In 2007, Texas announced a program called the Baby and Mother Bonding Initiative or BAMBI for short. The program is modeled on the Federal Bureau of Prison's Mothers and Infants Together program.
Even though the initiative was announced three years ago, since it didn't involve being tougher on crime the system is jut being implemented and the first three mothers and babies are being placed at a halfway house in Houston which is contracting through the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) to provide up to 15 beds for new mothers.
The old, and still prevalent, system removed all children form their mothers soon after birth and placed them with caregivers. That will continue to be the system used for mothers who do not qualify for the BAMBI program. The current qualifications include those who are scheduled to be released form the TDCJ system within six months of their due date. In addition, they cannot have any major disciplinary cases on their record, they must be minimum custody offenders, and have no convictions for violent crimes, arson, or any offense requiring sex offense registration.
While we are as quick, or quicker, to rag on the Texas prison and the Texas parole systems as anyone, occasionally they do something right and when they do they should be applauded of it so we are clapping in our minds.
Hopefully this program will spread and more women will be able to take advantage of it. After all, it is the children who benefit.
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