A new pilot program in New York City will allow a select group of mothers incarcerated at Rikers Island to bond with their children during special hours at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Mothers and their children will “participate in arts activities designed to support bonding and ease the trauma of separation” when the Upper West Side museum is normally closed, according to a press release. Chirlane McCray, the city’s first lady, announced the program last week.
“Time spent together outside of a jail environment, making art, dancing, and enjoying music will provide children with opportunities to express themselves and relieve the anxieties that so many families of incarcerated women experience,” she said in a statement. Helping women avoid prison and ensuring they have access to basic services while incarcerated has been a major focus for McCray, who helped launch a citywide baby shower initiative to highlight city services for new parents, including those at Rikers Island in 2016 and 2017. The first museum visit under the newly launched pilot program was on April 30th.