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Twenty-one-year-old Ericah Rico’s drug habit began when she was just 15. Introduced to her by a family member, cocaine and heroin quickly became her drugs of choice. She was arrested numerous times for stealing, which she says she did to support her habit. She has spent nearly half her one-year jail term at the Bonita House, the housing unit for the Babies and Mothers Bonding Initiative (BAMBI). She was released Dec. 8, 2011. These images were taken during her final days in the program.

Read more about the Babies and Mothers Bonding Initiative in “Baby Steps” by Diana Claitor.

Jen Reel was an Observer intern before joining the staff in July 2010, first as Web Content Manager, and most recently as Multimedia Editor. She left the Observer in 2017.

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Published at 10:08 am CST