Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

NEWS RELEASE 

Media Advisory
March 21,1999

Father to Witness Birth

(Columbus) --- At the request of Governor Bob Taft, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Reginald A. Wilkinson has granted Mr. Sean Michael Turner permission to be present during the birth of his child. The mother Barbara Turner, an inmate who is serving a one-year to one and a half-year sentence for Deception to Obtain Dangerous Drugs out of Hamilton County, is currently housed at the Franklin Pre-Release Center, located in Columbus.

"This father has shown a sincere desire to be a participatory parent and accept the responsibilities of fatherhood," said Governor Taft. "When we have a chance to keep a family together, I feel we have a responsibility to encourage the strengthening of that family bond and the nurturing of those family ties. DRC is right to prioritize security, however, in this case it is also important to address the families needs," said Taft.

The Governor felt the father should be present since he is getting custody of the child. Hamilton County Children Services has already approved the placement with the father.

The Department policy currently does not allow family members to be present during the birth of a child, for security reasons. It is unusual for a request to be made by family members to be present during the birth of a child to an incarcerated mother. It has been determined that permitting Mr. Turner to be present for the birth will not involve any security risk to the mother, child, medical personnel or prison staff. Last year, there were 92 children born to incarcerated mothers.

The Governor has asked DRC to revisit the current policy regarding expectant mothers and the procedures surrounding the birth of the child.

For additional information please contact Andrea Dean at (614) 752-1150.