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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 136626 Find in a Library
Title: Punishment and Welfare: Crack Cocaine and the Regulation of Mothering
Journal: Women and Criminal Justice  Volume:3  Issue:2  Dated:special issue (1992)  Pages:35-70
Author(s): L Maher
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 36
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article focuses on the control aspects of welfare intervention in relation to crack pregnancies and the regulation of mothering and examines specifically how welfare or administrative controls overlap with traditional criminal justice controls to function as an independent and gender-specific form of punishment.
Abstract: Drawing on feminist literature and fieldwork, the author suggests that many of the women who are sanctioned through the welfare system by having their children placed in foster care are already subject to substantial mechanisms of social control and cultural reproduction. The author disputes the assumption of a causal connection between perinatal use of illegal drugs and harm to the fetus, claiming that other high risk factors associated with adverse birth outcomes are not considered. In any case, removing children from parental care and custody when substitute homes are not readily available does not always seem to serve the children's best interests. The author concludes that the debate over the rights of cocaine-using mothers has merely deflected attention from the real issues of gender, race, and class that make these women's lives publicly problematic. 4 notes and 147 references
Main Term(s): Crack; Pregnant offenders
Index Term(s): Child welfare; Criminalization; Feminism; Women's rights
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