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New Pilot Program in LASD Women’s Jail Aims for Family Unification and Baby Bonding

Child birth is a life-altering, emotional experience, and for most women, the process of childbirth remains painful, difficult and can be very frightening.

With the emotional support of a loved one, who was requested by the expectant mother to be present during labor and delivery, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) Custody Services Division has teamed up with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS) on an innovative pilot program that provides childbirth companions and extended mommy-baby bonding moments.

The LASD understands the importance of family unification and encouragement during birth for expectant mothers in LASD’s jail system, which helps minimize the physical pain and emotional distress of labor and birth. The Department recently launched its inaugural partnership with DHS’s ‘Mama’s Neighborhood’, a strengths and relationship-based perinatal health and wellness program focused on supporting underserved, disenfranchised pregnant and parenting women at Century Regional Detention Facility.

“Reassurance, support, empathy and respect is the focus of LASD’s forward thinking in our jail facilities,” stated Chief Christy Guyovich, who commands the Custody Services Division. She added, “Our goal is to improve the birth experience for incarcerated mothers.”

Angelina Monguia, a 33 year-old incarcerated and expectant mother, was well along her pregnancy when she was selected to be the first participant in the program. “Angelina was ecstatic to have her mother present during childbirth,” said Chief Guyovich. “She was grateful for the support of her family and was extremely appreciative of the unheard-of opportunity to bond for several hours with her new baby girl, Audriana.” The baby was delivered at the Los Angeles County Medical Center on April 24, 2018, weighing a healthy seven pounds and 13 ounces.

LASD is happy to report that Baby Audriana’s family members will be taking care of her while Angelina completes the remainder of her custody term. Angelina will subsequently be released on her own recognizance to the custody of a women’s reentry program, where Baby Audriana will be allowed to stay with her.

“Our goal with this new program is to provide an expectant mother, who is incarcerated, the emotional and family support necessary during such a critical period,” said Sheriff Jim McDonnell. “We continue to improve our custody programs, by establishing an opportunity for a mother to build a bond with her newborn, giving both the mother and child a better chance for a healthy future.”

Welcome to the World, Baby Audriana.

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