Reentry and Integration Division
TDCJ officials kick off parenting program
The Huntsville Item
August 11, 2010
Huntsville — State lawmakers and officials with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice gathered Monday to officially kick off an innovative parenting program for Texas prison inmates.
Rep. Jerry Madden and Sen. John Whitmire were among those who gathered Monday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the site of the Baby and Mother Bonding Initiative, or BAMBI, program, which allows TDCJ offenders who have just given birth to live with their babies in a secure residential facility where they receive child development education and training.
The program began in April with the placement of three state jail offenders and their babies at the Santa Maria Hostel in Houston, a halfway house contracted through the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston to provide up to 15 residential beds for new mothers.
In 2007, Texas lawmakers enacted legislation establishing the program, which is modeled on the Federal Bureau of Prison's Mothers and Infants Together program in Fort Worth.
Before the inception of the BAMBI program, all babies born to TDCJ inmates were placed with caregivers shortly after their birth and that will continue to be the protocol for inmate mothers who aren't eligible to participate in the BAMBI program. In most cases, mothers eligible to participate in the program are scheduled to be released from TDCJ within six months of their due date and they must be minimum-custody offenders with no past or current convictions for any violent offense, arson or any offense requiring registration as a sex offender. They also cannot have any major disciplinary cases on record.
For more information about the BAMBI program, contact Michelle Lyons, TDCJ Public Information Director, at (936) 437-6052 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.