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Karina Rendón, a 23-year-old serving time for drug dealing, said her 2-year-old daughter thought of the 144-square-foot cell she shared with two other mothers and their children as home. “She doesn’t know it is a prison,” she said, smiling sadly. “She thinks it’s her house.”
While a prison may seem an unhealthy place for a child, in the early 1990s the Mexico City government decided it was better for children born in prison to stay with their mothers until they were 6 rather than to be turned over to relatives or foster parents.
A mother’s crime plays no role in the decision to let her keep a baby born in jail, the warden said.
To show them that a wider world exists, the teachers try to take the children on field trips as often as possible. Their budget is limited and they rely on charity for the outings. They have managed only three this year — to a museum, an amusement park and a children’s theater.
And even though the prison is full of women capable of violence, the children USUALLY walk safely among them,
A debate continues among Mexican academics over whether spending one’s early years in a jail causes mental problems later in life,
Several said they waged a constant struggle to keep their children from getting sick in the damp, drafty cells. They often have no money for the prescriptions the prison doctor gives them.
“I think the best thing for my daughter would be for her to be outside with her grandmother,” Ms. Rendón said. “I have to take her to work with me.” She pauses. “But the truth is I need her. She is something very special.”
Originally posted by intrepid
For one, prescriptions are provided without cost to the inmates.