State’s only prison nursery celebrating 10 years

DECATUR, Ill. -- Inside the Decatur Correctional Center, there is a wall lined with the colorful hand prints of mothers and their children. The only prison nursery in Illinois is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The moms and babies unit currently houses 5 women and 6 babies, including a set of twins.

“Just because you come to prison, it doesn’t stop you from being a mother,” said Warden Shelith Hansbro.

The program aims to help incarcerated mothers maintain strong bonds with their newborns. Since 2007, 75 women have gone through the program and 80-percent have not returned to prison, said IDOC officials.

WGN’s Gaynor Hall reports from Decatur.