Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Janet Grigsby




survey, mother, incarceration, program, crime


Through my research, I analyzed prison nursery programs in the United States. Prison nurseries are programs that exist in nine states that allow mothers who are pregnant when they are incarcerated to keep their infants with them in prison for a finite amount of time. Previous scholarship on the topic has shown that prison nurseries are effective in reducing rates of recidivism and fostering a bond between mother and infant. My research explored the question of why these programs are so rare given their success. I assessed Union College student and professor attitudes about maternal incarceration to better understand how perceptions about mothers in prison might impact the funding that these programs receive. I screened the film, “Mothers of Bedford,” that follows five mothers throughout their imprisonment at Bedford Hills Women’s Prison. I administered a survey before and after the documentary to the audience to assess how opinions about mothers in prison are altered through the process of humanizing the population through film. Through this data, I analyzed opinions about mothers in prison and prison nursery programs. My analysis shows that participants became more supportive of prison nursery programs after watching the documentary. My research demonstrates the importance in humanizing and raising awareness of the marginalized population that is mother prisoners.