Issues Affecting Incarcerated Women with Children
The conviction of female offenders and subsequent jailing has put at least 250,000 women in prison; with an overwhelming two thirds being mothers to minors (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2018). Maternal imprisonment severs the mother-child bond psychologically, emotionally, physically and by extend, hurts the family unit. Two prime issues synonymous with jailed women are psychological and family, causing collateral damage.
Psychological disorders. Loneliness and separation leads to mental health issues. The problem of poor mental health for women in prison owing to abuses and victimization is manifested in emotional imbalances, depression, Post stress traumatic disorders (PTSD), mood swings, and anxiety. Depression in women over the welfare of their kids in their absence, separation and stigma faced by the children themselves.
Breakdown of the family unit, that is marital breakups happen when relationships between couples are hard to maintain. The cost of visitations, fading communications and keeping in touch with the significant other could be a burden. These economic costs are compounded by the solitary confinement deprive cohabitation, joined parenting and emotional trauma deal a death blow to relationships.
The above issues trickle down to the children in this sense. First is children welfare. Noteworthy, fewer states have prison nurseries to ensure physical ties with mothers (WPA, 2009b). Even so, this program caps time spend here at 12-18 months. Troubled childhoods tend toward single-parent families, when the mother is incarcerated. They have challenges of behavioral and psychological disorders, social withdrawal, depression and shame. This stress causes children who lose motherly support to get more asocial and aggressive. It could also cause a detriment to the physical health.
Equally important, juvenile delinquency. Incarceration could trigger a crisis that affects children psychologically. A kid could be socialized by the environment around into believing that no matter how good, the end game will always be jail. This guilty feeling waters down a kid’s moral conscience; the cause and effect scenario ends at internalized delinquency.
As Van Wormer and Bartollass (2010) noted, women in correctional facilities are more predisposed to STIs. Sexual harassment and physical abuse are the traumatic experiences in their sexual and physical lives given their stringent, grim environment. Case examples are violence in jails and diseases prevalence — especially HIV and Hepatitis C –that face a poorly staffed and equipped correctional facility.
At the same time, the menace of recidivism and reintegration into the society. The threat of being not received by the society could pose a threat of relapse to crime. In this case doing time in prison would be a zero sum game. As such, there is need for guidance and counselling as well as establishing programs to educate, train and equip inmates with skills.
Remarkably, women have been victimized by the criminal justice system. Many consigned to prison circumstances and lifestyles that the society has forced them. For example, the crisis of unemployment, access to education, racial and gender privilege. In the receiving ends are kids, the unintended victims.
National Research Council. (2014). The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring the Causes and Consequences. Committee on Causes and Consequences of High Rates of Incarceration, J. Travis, B. Western, and S. Redburn, Editors. Committee on Law and Justice, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, D.C: The National Academies Press. Website https://www.nap.edu/read/18613/chapter/1#ii
The Incarceration of Women. Retrieved November 10, 2019 from https://www.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/44337_10_(final).pdf
The Sentencing Project (June 26, 2019). Incarcerated Women and Girls. Retrieved November 10, 2019 from https://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/incarcerated-women-and-girls/
Waldman A., (February 4, 2015). Women Face Many Obstacles After Prison Release. Retrieved November 10, 2019 from http://humaneexposures.com/blog/women-face-many-obstacles-after-prison-release.html
Villa M., (2017). The Mental Crisis Facing Women in Prison. Retrieved November 10, 2019 from https://www.themarshallproject.org/2017/06/22/the-mental-health-crisis-facing-women-in-prison