skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 168058 Find in a Library
Title: Breaking the Cycle of Despair: Children of Incarcerated Mothers
Corporate Author: Women's Prison Assoc
United States of America
Editor(s): M Sutton
Project Director: L Prout
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 0
Sponsoring Agency: Annie E. Casey Foundation
Baltimore, MD 21202
Women's Prison Assoc
New York, NY 10003
Sale Source: Women's Prison Assoc
110 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10003
United States of America
Type: Report (Technical Assistance)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This film presents the perspectives of incarcerated mothers, children of female inmates, corrections officials, and advocacy groups on the impacts of mothers' incarceration on themselves and their children and suggests more effective responses to preserve both public safety and families.
Abstract: The discussion notes that two-thirds of incarcerated women have children, that the incarceration of women has increased by 300 percent in the last decade, that their incarceration is often for nonviolent offenses, and that 165,000 children have incarcerated mothers. Women are often incarcerated for drug offenses and drug-related crimes. Eighty percent were victims of abuse or came from families with problems with alcohol or other drugs. They need structure and abstinence and could accomplish these goals in community-based programs rather than in prison. The children of incarcerated mothers feel anxiety, guilt, shame, and fear. Their insecurity and instability resulting from foster placements can lead to adolescent pregnancy, violence, and their own incarceration. Half the inmate mothers do not see their children while they are in prison; incarceration often jeopardizes their parental rights. Both mothers and children need support when the mother is released. The mother needs a job and child care and often has difficulties reconnecting with their children.
Main Term(s): Corrections management
Index Term(s): Children of incarcerated offenders; Family support; Female inmates; Parental attitudes; Parental influence; Parental rights; Women's correctional institutions
Note: VHS video cassette, color, 30 minutes
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.