Crims learning how to be better dads on the inside
Male prisoners are being taught how to bathe, swathe and settle babies in a pilot program designed to create tighter bonds with family when they are released.
Midwifery students at Central Queensland University (CQUni) are learning their own skills while educating young prisoners.
The Midwifery Prison Project is based in Townsville but has been deemed a success and Queensland Corrective Services are investigating rolling out similar programs at other sites around the state.
"Research shows that when prisoners feel confident and prepared in looking after a baby they create tighter bonds with their children and are less likely to reoffend," Bridget Ferguson, one of the team from the university running the M2: Midwives for Men program, said.
"When fathers know what to expect when they go home to a screaming baby it is less likely to create a volatile environment. Also, the kids of these dads grow up feeling a better connection with their family and are less likely to become offenders themselves," she said.
The program started with women prisoners who said they wanted their men to learn the same skills.
"The Midwives to Men project was an extension of the Midwifery Prison Project and was established due to the prevalent, and well-documented challenges that incarcerated men are also exposed to during their transition to fatherhood," the midwifery lecturer told The Sunday Mail.
The project leader said some women were having their fourth or fifth baby in prison but were inexperienced as they had never raised them.
"They needed what we call motherhood, mother-crafting advice," Midwifery Prison Project lead Dr Adele Baldwin said.
"The number of pregnant women in prison is increasing so it's really important that the midwives of the future understand the unique context that these women are coming from. Our midwifery students are having the unique opportunity to improve their skills by being alongside the pregnant women as part of their Continuity of Care Experiences," Dr Baldwin said.
The correctional service is impressed with the project.
"QCS recognises the importance of supporting parents to building and maintain safe, appropriate and positive relationships with their children to break the cycle of offending and protect the community. QCS is considering future opportunities for this program or similar to be rolled out at other sites," a spokesman said.