Should daughter Leah be visiting ‘Teen Mom’ Amber Portwood in prison?

Gary Shirley and Leah in an episode of 'Teen Mom' with Amber Portwood

Amber Portwood has been behind bars for four months now and has yet to see her three-year-old daughter Leah. However, all that is about to change as Gary Shirley has finally come to the decision that Leah having regular visits with her Teen Mom star mother is the best thing for both her and Amber.

“Just to clear up confusion I had to find out for my daughter, Amber, and myself if it was best for Leah to go where her mommy is and visit,” Gary wrote on Facebook. “I learned that it is the best thing for Leah and Amber.” While he and Amber used to fight at the drop of a hate, they have been getting along better now that she’s sober and incarcerated.

He added, “All the paperwork is finally in order so yes soon we will be visiting her. She’s doing a lot better a lot of stuff has be cleared between us things have settled down… things are heading in the right direction. Thanks for support and in [NO WAY] was me not taking her to see her mom a control thing.”

'Teen Mom' daughter Leah Shirley hits the road

Just a few weeks ago, Gary had told In Touch Weekly that he hadn’t even told Leah where her mommy was yet. “When I tried to tell her, ‘Mommy’s in trouble,’ she got upset. So, I’ve said, ‘Mommy’s at work,’ or ‘Mommy’s on vacation.'”

He also had yet to complete the paperwork necessary in order for Leah to visit which is something that Amber was getting a bit irritated with. “I try to give him excuses,” she said. “In my head I say, ‘Maybe he just can’t handle it’ or ‘Maybe he doesn’t want Leah to cry.'”

Regardless of why it took so long, Amber, who is reportedly writing a book behind bars, will soon be reunited with her daughter, but it’s a little hard to get on board with it all. Should Leah really be exposed to prison at such a young age? Sure, she needs her mother in her life, but is that worth the damaging effects that regular trips to jail could bring?

What do you think? Should Gary Shirley take Leah to visit Amber Portwood in prison?

  • Baby Daddy Behind Bars

    Everybody thinks that once you take a child to a prison visit that it is some rowdy crazy violent atmosphere. That isn’t how it is at all. They take you to this room to visit which usually has vending machines and some have areas for children to play. The inmates aren’t allowed to communicate with each other in there just their visitors which is fine because they are all there for the same reason which is to visit loved ones that they have a limited amount of time with before they have to go back to their cell. I don’t think it is like everyone pictures it. The only way it could be a harmful enviornment is if the guards weren’t really regulating the visits. I say its about time she see’s her because its going to do more damage to start wondering why see never gets to see mommy and deal with the emotional stress of that. Plus for a certain amount of hours she will get to know her mother’s touch, hugs, and kisses.

    • Kristin

      agreed! =)

      • Baby Daddy Behind Bars

        I can’t think of anything better than a loving embrace from mom. =) Always makes you feel safe and comforted.

  • Michelle

    He should go check it out sometime and see how it is. Leah needs to have some face time with Amber, whether Gary likes it or not. I’d like to say that Gary has Leah’s best interest at heart but he has dangled her in front of Amber one too many times. I hope Amber does get her life straightened out so she and Leah can have a relationship, aside from Gary always being around.

  • jessica

    absolutely positively no she is to young

  • I think that Leah should be able to see her mommy in jail.. I think it would be good for Leah as well for Amber!! Amber is a good mommy, she just got addicted to drugs and once someone is addicted to drugs, the drugs Over-Power your mind, body, and emotions!! The drugs took over Amber’s life and took control on her, even though Amber thought that she had control over the drugs she didnt, the drugs had control over her!! Amber is a good, loving, caring mom to Leah, and I personally think that it would be good for both Leah and Amber to get to see each other, whether it is in prison or not, but unfortunaty Amber has no choice right by but to get to see Leah in Prison because of the decison she made in the past!! Keep up the Awesome work Amber of being clean and straight and level headed!! I know you and Gary have your ups and downs, but just try to remember he is going through the same thing that you are, even though he’s not in prision he is still dealing with all of this with you, because he has to deal with you not being around and how to tell Leah why your not around when the time is right for him to tell her!! But I think you are making steps to a Wonderful future if you continue down the road that you are on now!! Good Luck to you Amber, Gary, and Adorable Little Leah in the future that lies ahead of you all..

  • Sarah

    I think because of the length of time that Amber will be incarcerated, Leah needs to visit. She needs to see that Amber is ok, that she is still there, that she has not abandoned Leah. Leah needs to know, hear and see that mommy still loves her. No matter the reason for the separation, there can still be open communication. I do not think it will scar Leah and when she grows up, I’m sure she will appreciate the honesty and not being so disconnected with her mother. I think if there were no contact, it would be much harder on Leah as well as Amber to bond and reconnect when Amber is released.

  • Tizaviën Laporte

    When i was 8 years old i visited my mom many times in prison. It’s very hard to leave your mom in there especially if you don’t understand why she can’t come home with you. I loved seeing my mom even if it was for 15 minutes. I think gary should let Leah visit Amber so she doesn’t forget her mom and amber can see leah and think, hey that’s my daughter i need to get myself back on track. I want to be the best mom i can be for her. She will be motivated to better herself for her daughter. I hope everything will work out in the end. 5 years is a very long time. I apologize if my english is not good. English is my fourth language.

    • juststeph

      Your English is fine! It’s better than a lot of people on message boards!

  • tiff909

    i have a five month old he didnt meet her uncle until about a week ago i choose not to expose my daughter to that enviorment because although like some have pointed out its friendly enough because its a privilage to watch a child grow if you made the mistakes to end up in prision you shouldnt be allowed to see the child prison is no place for a child amber should just accept the fact that she choose to do her drugs over her daughter has even admitted to it maybe it would be best for phone converstions and pictures to be her onnly communication to leah and leach needs to know where her mommy is not all the details but she needs to know that her mommy did something that requires her to sit in a place and recieve treatment that is actually going to help her this time

    • Katie

      She also needs to know that her mother hasn’t fallen off the face of the earth and still loves her. Amber’s jail has a park for prisoners with children. She’s gonna be there in for the next 3/4 years. If Amber doesn’t get to visit Leah, she won’t even remember her when she gets out.
      Also, there’s a HUGE difference between a child going to see his/her mother in jail versus a child going to see their uncle in jail.

      • tiff909

        never said it was the same situation. leah wont forget who her mommy is if she is still allowed to talk to her see pictures of her and is able to send amber stuff amber shouldnt be allowed to choose when she wants to be in leahs life although as a mother myself it would kill me not to see my daughter but amber made the decsions she made that put her where she is today and has openly admitted she choose drugs over leah countless times now i think its time for amber to realize that leahs life is going to move on although shes afraid leah will forget about her it just means she needs to work harder at being a postive person for leah in a way thats possible. for her with out exposing her to prison why would she want leah to see her there anyway
        i would not want my daughter to see me that way. i have visited my brother there its hard to see them in that situation i would never want my daughter to see me like that

        • Katie

          You really think that pictures and phone calls are enough for a child? Every child needs their mom, especially at Leah’s age. I’m not saying take Leah there for Amber’s sake, because I agree with you, she put herself there and has to suffer the consequences. But to not allow a child to see their mother for years is just plain wrong. Leah won’t even know where the heck Amber is at this age. And when she is old enough to know it won’t matter because either way she’s going to find out her mother was in jail and why she went there. My opinion is that Leah should get to see her mom for HER sake.

  • Rachel

    Hells yeah! It’s important for Leah to know mommy is still THERE. More than just needing to interact with her, Leah needs to know that mommy didn’t abandon her, which she will start to wonder if she never gets to see her. Leah doesn’t deserve that hurt. That will hurt more in the short term AND long term than the hurt of having to leave her mom. Leah will be sad to leave each visit but it’s better for her happiness in the end. It’s better for Amber too. Seeing her daughter will help her to stay strong and happy to get better. It’s just the best thing for everybody!

  • Yazmin

    She shouldnt see her mom in jail that just isnt right. Amber put herself in that situation and should leave leah in peace and innocence… Bringing a small child to jail is just pathetic and brainless…

  • sammi

    After watching Amber’s special over the weekend I can see a difference in her already. She seemed likable, humble, and sounds like she is taking responsibility for her actions. While I was not a fan of hers on the show due to her actions towards Leah and her laziness to make a better life for herself, I feel a lot different towards Amber now. I really think she will get her life together this time around, at least I hope she does. I want her to prove to Leah, herself, the public, and Gary that she can be a compitent mother and provider. I do believe that she and Gary need to part ways, I actually dont see them getting back together. I think this prison stint is going to show her that yes, she has anger issues but Gary pushes her buttons and things are probably gonna come full circle should they get into a serious relationship again. They need to work on being good parents together or a part, go to counseling, individually and as parents and have time a part to work on themselves because lets face it, Gary was no better than Amber in some ways. Yea he picked up her slack but thats what a parent is supposed to do, you dont get cool points for that in my opinion, thats what ur supposed to do. He dangled Leah in front of Amber any chance he got.

  • Zolo33

    To be quite honest I don’t think he should see her at all BUT that’s only based on past behavior due to her drug addiction. As for Leah, I personally wouldn’t bring her however if she’s asking about her we have to keep in mind that she’s only 3yrs old and it’s not like you can tell a 3yr old that mom’s in jail because she’s bad, you can NEVER EVER EVER PUT DOWN A PARENT IN FRONT OF THE CHILD! Kids know they are from you both, if you put down the other, they feel bad too. However, it would NOT surprise me if Gary knows all this as he is a very good father.
    Anyway, my point is that Gary should make the decision, he has soul custody and he’s a good father who makes good choices for his daughter and I’m pretty sure that he knows what he’s doing.

    As for Amber, my gosh! She’s so calm ._. I bet Gary is very happy she’s not throughing temper-tantrums anymore x.x

  • AreYoUForReal

    I don’t think a prison is a good environment for her.
    Did she not see enough when Amber beat on Gary in front of her on two separate occasions?