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A Lesson To Be Learned From The Soviets

In Soviet prisons for women, inmate mothers give birth in the maternity ward and see their children daily in the child care center until they are two years old. Soviet officials are considering raising this age to three years old.

Since 1985 the country has seen a variety of changes in its penal practices. The results? A more than 50% decrease in the female inmate population, which continues to shrink. Three prisons have already been closed and others are being converted for use as alcohol- and drug-treatment centers.

The current sentencing trend is to have less dangerous criminals work on big construction sites in settlements where they live with their families, work in their professions, and even have a limited right to travel.

Allowing inmate mothers to retain their parental rights, and allowing inmates in general to retain a little self-respect and preserve family ties is paying off for the Soviets.

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