Women in Prison

Women in Prison
Dianne Flannery
CJ242 Critical Issues in Corrections
February 16, 2015
Kaplan College
Professor J. Burdett

Women in prison represent a certain percentage of the prisoners, with a higher percentage found in jails. Some of the women are mothers or soon to be mothers. The nation’s growing prison and jail population has raised serious questions about the collateral effects of incarceration on children and their families. It is clear that imprisonment disrupts positive, nurturing relationships between many parents, particularly mothers, and their children. In addition, many families with children suffer economic strain and instability when a parent is imprisoned.
Who is Responsible?
The rising number of women in prison poses particular challenges for family stability. It depends on who can care for the child the best when a mother is incarcerated. The children are exposed to many risk factors and that the effects of parental incarceration on children are subject to a host of variables, including pre-incarceration living arrangements; the quality of the parent-child relationship; the degree to which inmate parents participated in daily care and financial support of their children prior to confinement; children’s current living arrangements; the amount of contact children have with their incarcerated parents; and children’s age, temperament, gender and coping skills, among other factors.
Who Takes Care of the Children?
Mothers in state prisons report that their children are in the care of the father in just 25% of cases, while the rest go to a grandparent (51%), another relative (20%), a family friend (4%), or a foster home or agency (11%).   Two percent of children under 18 live alone, without adult supervision. Grandmothers are the largest caregiver group, and the many difficulties they face have been well-documented. Little or no financial assistance is available to family members who are willing to take on the responsibilities involved...