Group Members Laurel Bates, Maedchen Britton, Rachel Brouwer, Nick Ferrell Purpose Statement

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Laurel Bates:

Laurel Bates is a mathematician and is qualified to conduct a cost-benefit analysis. She has also been managing a budget for fourteen years for herself and her church and through that experience gained a realistic perspective of finances. Bates has conducted extensive nutritional research and is personally interested in leading a nutritious life and enabling others to do the same. Through her research she has developed a base of knowledge of the existing conditions for women in prison and the financial status of prisons.

Maedchen Britton:

As an enthusiastic supporter of human rights, including women and prisoner’s rights, Maedchen Britton is well-qualified to speak to this issue. Having done extensive research on the effects of nutrition for mothers and their unborn children, she has a strong grasp of the importance of this problem. Furthermore, she has been involved in nutrition classes that explored general nutrition as well as infant and pregnant nutrition, providing her with a holistic perspective of good nutrition for the family. She has also been involved in classes discussing the growth and development of infants and the impact that parental involvement has on their development, including studies on the rates of incarceration for breastfed children who have a positive bonding experience with their parent/legal guardian. Her volunteer work with low socio-economic status children has further enlightened her on the specific issues children in these situations face with regards to poor nutrition in the womb, poor nutritional education overall, and parental absenteeism. She has also done research exploring the various benefits of breastfeeding, pregnancy models and their effects on the infant, and the programs already in place for this very purpose. She has also researched the methods of implementing reform in prison systems so that this proposal will be both beneficial and effective.

Rachel Brouwer:

As a Social Work major, Rachel Brouwer has performed extensive research on the demographics of socio-economic status and how these social factors relate to the cycles of incarceration. She has found that there is a correlation between socio-economic status and the likelihood of being incarcerated. She has done volunteer work with people and families of lower socio-economic position, which has given her to gain a greater understanding of thi line of work. She is also an eager advocate for human rights, particularly women’s freedoms, which has opened up her eyes further to such relevant needs. She cares deeply about helping people out of cycles of exploitation and/or poverty. In addition to this, Brouwer has studied the importance of mother-child relationships, particularly very early in the infant’s life. She understands how crucial it is for this bond to form early on. There is a correlation between socio-economic background and incarceration, with 60% of incarcerated women not having been employed full-time when arrested, and with 37% percent of them having incomes under $600 a month leading up to their arrests (The Sentencing Project, 2007). Because of this, Brouwer claims that this proposal would help these women gain drive to live more stable lifestyles after they have done time. Building bonds with their children and gaining a skillset for nutritional knowledge would increase their motivation to do anything they could to avoid returning into the system.

Nicholas Ferrell:

Nicholas Ferrell, who is currently pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice, has conducted extensive research on prisons and how they currently operate as well as ethical issues concerning incarcerated pregnant women.  He has visited jails and seen first-hand how they are set up and operate.  In addition to his criminal justice expertise he has researched the nutritional needs of pregnant women and their children both before and after birth.  After taking part in classes focused on nutrition and food preparation he has gained further understanding of the interaction between development and good nutrition.  He understands how beneficial breastfeeding is for a newborn, and knows the importance of mother-child interaction early in a baby’s life, especially for healthy bonding. From a health standpoint, he understands basic maternal needs and has informed himself of prisons’ lack of meeting those needs.  He claims that restructuring how prisons work for pregnant women and women with infants will increase the level of care the mother provides for her child and will give mothers a reason to stay out of prison once their time is up (Vallely).

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