© Neelakshi Vidyalankara

For her Babies Behind Bars series, Neelakshi Vidyalankara visitied the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County, the largest maximum security women’s prison in New York state.

“The prison opened in 1901 and has hosted many infamous women prisoners (including Kathy Boudin, Jean Harris, Carolyn Warmus, Sante Kimes and Pamela Smart).  It is also one of a few women’s prisons in the USA that allow pregnant prisoners to keep their newborn babies with them for the first 12 – 18 months of their life. The Bedford Hills nursery has existed in some form since 1901 and was created to help foster a stronger attachment between mother and infant, improve parenting skills and reduce a mother’s chances of recidivism,” says Vidyalankara.

Qiana did a short interview with Neelakshi last year.

Previously, I have noted the work of Patricia Aridjis and Angela Shoemaker, both of whom have documented maternity and motherhood while incarcerated.