When the State Has Custody: The Fragile Bond of Mothers and Their Infants on the Prison Nursery
Consider the typical scenario: Once a woman has been accepted for the nursery and her baby is born, the child is then in the physical custody of the Department of Corrections. After several months, circumstances-usually of a disciplinary nature-arise that necessitate a decision about whether or not to separate mother and baby. Until this point, the mental health professional has functioned as therapist to the mother and therefore has some idea how this particular mother might experience the stress of such a separation (for example, depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress, even psychotic decompensation) . But now the therapist is asked to make a custodial recommendation.