Mothering after Imprisonment

Margaret Oot Hayes

in Interrupted Life

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780520252493
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944565 | DOI:
Mothering after Imprisonment

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A National Institute of Corrections study recently reported that nearly 85 percent of mothers in prison plan to live with their children when they are released. The fact is, the obstacles to this plan are huge for most incarcerated women and include lack of support for substance abuse problems, unresolved issues related to trauma and abuse, the need for safe and affordable housing, and the impact of extended separation from their children. This chapter presents two case studies that illustrate the terrible difficulties into which many formerly incarcerated mothers step upon their reentry into family life. The two mothers in the case studies, “Maria” and “Sylvia,” had similar backgrounds. They had been teenage mothers before their incarceration, lived in poverty, had a history of mental illness, and were victims of domestic abuse. Maria also had a history of substance abuse. Their stories represent the mothers' journeys from prison to home with their children, and back to prison.

Keywords: incarcerated mothers; mothering; reentry; incarceration; prison; children; poverty; family life; mental illness; domestic abuse

Chapter.  2098 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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