An Alternative to Mother and Infants behind Bars: How One Prison Nursery Program Impacted Attachment and Nurturing for Mothers Who Gave Birth while Incarcerated

Veronica Kwarteng-Amaning, Jacquelyn Svoboda, Natalie Bachynsky, Lannette Linthicum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-125
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019



  • postpartum
  • pregnant
  • prisons
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Critical Care
  • Maternity and Midwifery

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