For over 17 years, Birth Behind Bars has been a pioneer organization, caring for pregnant inmates. Janice Banther, CCCE, CLD, CHBE, CIMI founded Birth Behind Bars in 2001 as an inmate program for two jails in Tampa Bay, Florida. For over 17 years, she and her staff worked with a programming team within the jail to provide childbirth classes, parenting classes, doula services, labor support, and personal counseling to hundreds of inmates. As a result of this body of work, Janice Banther became a nationally recognized expert in developing pregnant inmate support programs throughout America.
In April 2015, Janice launched a Certification Program for Birth Professionals. Becoming certified with Birth Behind Bars will enable interested persons to take the information they learn from their certifying organization and use the acquired skills in a jail setting and/or hospital in order to assist the inmate in birth and the very important part of postpartum delivery once she returns to jail without her baby.
Janice has helped birth professionals start their own inmate programs in states such as Vermont and Georgia, and she has gone onsite in West Columbia, West Virginia to Lakin Correctional Center to train prison staff on how to care for pregnant inmates and her new born child.
Pregnant inmates make up 8% - 10% of the jail/prison population at any given time in the United States. Birth Behind Bars’s mission is to help train birth professionals and the prison staff on how to help these forgotten women in jails and prisons across the country. Using the lowest percentage, 8%, this means over 12,000 pregnant women are in the jails and prisons in the United States alone.