Drug Testing News BLOG

A group home in Newark, Delaware houses pregnant, drug-addicted offenders so they can give birth while in custody and bond with their babies after they are born.

New Expectations was created by the DOC and its healthcare provider, Connections Community Support Programs, as an alternative to detention in prison facilities, where a pregnant woman would be given a 24-hour leave to have her baby at a hospital before being put back into prison and having the baby given to relatives or put into foster care.

At the home, the mother can be sentenced to stay there for the duration of her pregnancy plus up to six months after birth to allow for that critical post-birth mother-baby bonding before she has to go back to a regular prison.

State Correction Commissioner Robert Coupe said the criminal justice system struggles with how to handle pregnant female offenders who use drugs and he wanted to have a better way of handling it.

The more I learned about it, the more I thought in my mind, 'There's got to be a better way,' he said. How do we help these ladies? How can we meet their needs without sending them to prison?

The facility has been open since November and has room for up to 17 women and their children.