People who are incarcerated or detained by immigration while they are lactating have the right to accommodation during their incarceration or detention. Creating a jail environment that supports breastfeeding is seen as an avenue for rehabilitation. Bonding through breastfeeding/lactating is sometimes the only way that a loving connection can be formed when the parent is incarcerated. Research suggests that breastfeeding parents are less likely to repeat offend, abuse their children, and use drugs.
California Assembly Bill 250 (California Penal Code § 4002.5) went into effect on January 1, 2020 and requires the sheriff/administrator of each county jail to develop and implement an infant and toddler breast milk feeding policy for people who are lactating and detained in or sentenced to county jail. The bill, also known as a “pump and pick-up” policy, was passed in recognition of the importance of providing incarcerated people the support and structures they need to lactate, as well as to provide for the transfer of breast milk to their children.
Resources for Correctional Facilities and Families to Implement AB250
Supporting Lactation in Jails: Implementing a Model Policy to Meet California Penal Code § 4002.5: A toolkit produced by California Breastfeeding Coalition and ACLU Southern California
Breastfeeding in Correctional Settings: A position paper published by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care
Lactation Rights While Incarcerated or in Immigration Detention: A toolkit for parents created by Breastfeed LA
Breastfeeding and Incarceration Tool Kit: A toolkit for parents and their advocates produced by the Michigan Breastfeeding Network
For the lactation policy for your county jail, please contact your local sheriff’s department.