FCJ Projects

The MotherRight Project

In partnership with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the MIRACLE Project serves pregnant, jailed mothers and their families.   

In the jail, MIRACLE provides prenatal, infant and child development education classes; family life and family resource management education; mothers' support groups; sentencing and child custody advocacy; and social-recreational activities.  In the community, MIRACLE serves the families of formerly-incarcerated mothers, providing home-based doula services, infant/child development education and case management.  Families may receive MIRACLE services for up to 3 years after the mother's release from incarceration.

​MIRACLE outcomes include significant decreases in premature births, low birth weight babies and neonatal hospitalizations.  MIRACLE mothers have decreased rates of postpartum depression, longer inter-pregnancy intervals and a 5% rate of recidivism.  MIRACLE families achieve sustained reunification, with less than 2% experiencing the removal of a child to foster care.

A Focus on Healthy Relationships

Families & Criminal Justice is a relationship-based practice agency.  We believe that healthy human development occurs within a nest of nurturing, responsive relationships and we try to duplicate that setting and process for the children, parents and families we serve.


Participants in our program  typically grow and develop within social and economic contexts that include poverty, discrimination, and a lack of community supports.  Those contexts shape the developmental process of both families and individuals, limiting developmental resources and increasing developmental insults like trauma.   Children who receive few developmental resources and experience many developmental insults have poor developmental outcomes---like school failure and delinquency.


The best developmental resources (such as nurturing caregivers in infancy and early childhood) and the worst developmental insults (like victimization of or by a loved one) occur within children's family relationships.  Families & Criminal Justice seeks to increase developmental resources and decrease developmental insults for children of families involved in the criminal justice system by supporting healthy relationships in children's lives:

  • We work with pregnant prisoners to provide the emotional support and resources stripped away by victimization, drugs, crime and incarceration.

  • We work with infants and their formerly incarcerated mothers to support healthy, responsive maternal caregiving by providing for mothers the quality of relationship we want them to provide for their babies.

  • We work with incarcerated parents to provde information and tools they can use to parent appropriately and effectively.

  • We work with children of families involved in the criminal justice system to provide resources and activiites for learning, healing and discovering themselves.


In our work, Families & Criminal Justice practitioners attempt to deliver services in a way that is:

  • developmentally appropriate (i.e. responsive to participants' age, gender, developmental status, class, culture and sexual orientation);

  • accepting and non-judgmental;

  • self-aware and mindful; and and

  • oriented towards the goals of social and economic justice.



MotherRight addresses healthy reproductive relationships, healthy reproduction and mothers' reproductive freedom as key precursors of healthy parenting and healthy families.  MotherRight is offered in women's correctional facilities and residential treatment settings.   MotherRight offers reproductive health education, reproductive health support groups and reproductive health advocacy workshops.  In all of its components, MotherRight focuses on reproductive justice for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women.

MotherRight outcomes include reduced multi-partnered fertility, increased inter-pregnancy intervals, decreased relationship conflicts and decreased maternal stress.  

The Developmental Education & Enhancement Project [D.E.E.P.] offers home-based parenting support for mothers who have completed MIRACLE services.  DEEP provides comprehensive developmental assessments and referrals, as needed, for children 36-60 months of age, as well as individualized child development education and mother-child activity sessions designed to strengthen the mother-child relationship and improve children's developmental skills/capacities.