Minnesota Prison Doula Project
The Minnesota Prison Doula Project provides prison‐based pregnancy, birth, and parenting services to incarcerated women at Shakopee Women’s Prison, the Hennepin County Adult Corrections Facility and the Ramsey County Correctional Facility. The program includes individualized support for expectant incarcerated mothers along with a mothering group facilitated by trained doulas, providing support during birth along with the education and skills they need to be stronger, more connected mothers. Over 85% of women in prison were the primary caregivers to their children before incarceration, and approximately 25% of women in prison have either given birth at some point during the year prior to or are pregnant at the time of their arrest (U.S. Department of Justice)
In partnership with Dr. Rebecca Shlafer, Assistant Professor in the University Medical School, the Minnesota Prison Doula Project is part of ongoing research and evaluation on this important issue. In addition to collecting information from doulas and women about their experiences in the program, birth outcomes are monitored (e.g., delivery method, gestational age, birth weight). Initial results indicate that doula care for incarcerated women is a promising approach to improving maternal health and birth outcomes.