At the federal prison bureau’s Greenbrier Birthing Center in West Virginia, there are no fences. The doors are unlocked. Mothers can stroll with their babies on the grassy lawn, play on the infant playground or pick vegetables and cook their own dinner, reports the Charleston Gazette. Former Director Delsie Swearingen, an ex-Marine, says that 99 percent of the inmates were molested or beaten as children, abused by their husbands or boyfriends, or both.
“It's been my home,” says one resident. “I feel close to the staff here. They have been, more or less, my friends. Otherwise, I'd probably still be out there doing drugs, selling drugs, still making bad decisions.” The prison bureau’s MINT (Mothers and Infants Nurturing Together) program operates seven centers nationwide. Last year, 116 pregnant inmates had their babies there.