Female inmates in NYC benefit from the Rose M. Singer Nursery Program

Female inmates in NYC benefit from the Rose M. Singer Nursery Program

L-R: Linda Moro, Dr. Lisa Choleff, Dr. Marie Devezin and Clercile Daleus

In 1984 the city of New York agreed to open the Rikers Island, NY, nursery program due to a lawsuit filed by the Legal Aid society on behalf of its female prisoners. In 1985, the Rose M. Singer Center Nursery was born, being named the Patricia Gleaton Nursery, after Mrs. Patricia Gleaton, Nurse Practitioner. Mrs. Gleaton was the caretaker of the babies under Montifiore Medical Center, St. Barnabas Hospital and later Prison Health Services. The Nursery has the capacity to house up to fourteen mothers and fifteen babies.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the New York City Department of Corrections, which includes a thorough medical and mental health evaluation, set requirements for admission into the nursery program.

Corizon works in conjunction with each department to provide medical care to both mothers and babies housed in the nursery. The staffing consists of a full-time pediatrician and nurse aide. A social worker is also assigned to the area, overseeing all applications and programs for the mothers. An infant could remain with the mother up to one year in the Rose M. Singer Center Nursery. Thereafter, he or she is sent to the approved guardian in the community. The New York State Child Protective Services and the New York City Department of Corrections do approvals. Mothers with violent felony charges are not eligible for acceptance into the nursery program.

Programs assisting inmate mothers during their stay in the nursery program to help with their mother–child relationship include the following:

  • Mommy and Me Program
  • Lactation and parenting classes conducted by the New York City Department of Health
  • Baby yoga classes, weekly exercising sessions for mothers and babies
  • Hour Children program, assists the mothers with their transition back into the community
  • Nurse Family Partnership – counseling first time mothers, providing service for developmentally delayed children prior to age three
  • Prison Ministries – provides religious/outreach services

The nursery currently houses four mothers and four babies.

About Rose M. Singer Center – capacity: 2,017
Opened in June 1988 as an 800-bed facility for female detainees and sentenced inmates. Subsequent additional modular housing has increased capacity to its present level. In 1985, the Department opened the nation’s first jail-based baby nursery at the old Correctional Institution for Women. The new jail features an expanded 25-bed baby nursery. It was named for an original member of the New York City Board of Correction set up by Mayor Robert F. Wagner in 1957. The board is the Department’s oversight agency.

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Riker’s Island is a Corizon partner. To learn more about our correctional healthcare services and job opportunities visit our website at www.corizonhealth.com