Everybody makes bad choices in their life sometimes. That was especially true of Anael, who we met in the last installment of Moms Behind Bars on CafeMom Studios. She was sent to prison for eight years for drug dealing, and her son, then three, was sent to live with his father.
Several years later, while in a work release program, she got pregnant again. But because she was unable to work at the assigned job while carrying her child, she was sent back to prison. She decided to keep the baby and was accepted into the correctional facility's nursery program, which would allow her to raise her baby there.
She soon found that life behind bars with a baby was full of unexpected ups and downs.
Anael says she thinks being in prison has made her a better mom than she was to her son. Since she isn't working, she can spend more time with baby Rayne, and she was able to breastfeed.
The hope with these kinds of programs is that the relationship the moms in prison (there are between 30-35 on Anael's unit) have with their children will keep them out of trouble when they are released because they have someone to keep it together for. For Anael's part, she's become a mentor to other moms on the nursery unit. She was scheduled to be released this month.
It's good Anael is trying to set her life on a better course. Prison should be for rehabilitation as well as punishment. There would certainly be no benefit to sending Rayne into foster care instead of finding ways her mother could care for her.
But I...and I suspect a lot of you...will be kind of shocked by Anael's description of her day. As someone who struggles to balance work, family and school, hearing someone in prison, supported my my tax dollars, talk about how much time she can spend with her child just left me a bit dismayed. I would never want to trade places with her but I am always playing catch-up with some aspect of my life. It would be nice if our society allowed everyone the kind of time Anael enjoys.
What do you think of Anael's story?
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Image via CafeMom Studios.