Mass Mom’s Incarceration:
How the Incarceration of Parents Affects the Relationship with Their Children
The effect incarceration of a parent has on a child has been studied for many years. Their behavior changes, they can develop trust issues and are even put at more risk of incarceration (Around the Nation). However, there has not been nearly as much focus on what this separation does to the mother or the mother-child relationship itself. The incarceration of a parent can induce harsh effects on the mental and emotional stability of both mother and child along with the relationship between the two. Co-authors Suzanne Allen, Chris Flaherty and Gretchen Ely discuss these effects in their work, “Throwaway Moms: Maternal Incarceration and the Criminalization of Female Poverty,” by providing specific examples from incarcerated mothers. This article delves into the negative psychological effects incarceration has on these mothers along with how they affect their relationship with their children. While there have been actions put into place in order to reduce the negative aspects such as visitation programs and house arrest (Snyder), the overall trauma caused by some of the scenarios is usually too much to overcome. The number of incarcerated parents in the United States has also been growing at an extreme rate (Allen, Flaherty and Ely). The steady increase of mass incarceration is taking a large number of parents with it. This only aggravates the issues of poor mother-child relationships throughout the United States. The disturbing combination of mass incarceration, deteriorating mother-child relationships and the unsteady mental and emotional states from both parties will sum up to a dim future for the parents who are attempting to resurge into the lives they were taken from and, probably more importantly, the children who are left without their primary caretakers. Causing the extensive separation of mother or father and child can produce deficient mental and emotional mindsets in the parent, leading to the ultimate demise of their relationship as a whole.
Maternal Incarceration and Prison Visitation
Women are being incarcerated at an unprecedented rate. During the last thirty years, the number of women in prisons has exceeded that of men (Stringer and Barnes). An article published in the Journal of Women and Social Work titled, “Throwaway Moms: Maternal Incarceration and the Criminalization of Female Poverty,” shares information collected from twenty-six different interviews of women behind bars as well as insight pertaining to the problems being caused by the incarceration of mothers. The co-authors, Suzanne Allen, Chris Flaherty and Gretchen Ely, comment, “As of June 2006, there were 203,100 women incarcerated in jails and prisons—nearly 10% of the total U.S. prison and jail population. More than 65% of these women were mothers of minor children, and 64% of them had lived with their children prior to incarceration”...