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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98389 Find in a Library
Title: Mothers in Prison
Author(s): P J Baunach
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 159
Sponsoring Agency: Transaction Publishers
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Sale Source: Transaction Publishers
Rutgers-the State University
140 West Ethel Road
Units L-M
Piscataway, NJ 08854
United States of America
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Research was undertaken to provide a descriptive analysis of two programs designed to help inmate mothers maintain ties with their children during incarceration and to explore inmate mothers' perceptions of the effects of separation on themselves, their children, and the mother-child relationship.
Abstract: The Daniel Boone Career Development Center in Kentucky and the Purdy Treatment Center in Washington share a number of conceptional and operational elements. They uniformly recognize the importance of bond-maintenance and the importance of enhancing parental responsibility prior to release. In both, mothers are required to take full charge of their children's care during visits and are encouraged to make decisions about their children's lives. Both also strive to help the children understand their mothers' current living situation. Mothers felt these programs were helpful in helping them understand their relationships with their children and in fostering these relationships. The presence of the children was associated with more positive behaviors and attitudes toward them and appeared to bring out nurturing responses in mothers and nonmothers. In addition, the Purdy Treatment Center uses a foster-care placement program as an innovative way of enabling mother-child ties to be maintained during incarceration. Demographic, criminal history, and attitudinal data for 190 inmate mothers in 3 prisons in Kentucky and Washington indicate that inmate mothers responded to the separation from children with feelings of inadequacy, despondency, and fear of loss of the children. Evidence of a psychologically supportive extended family concept was found among black, but not white, women. In general these women had a low but somewhat favorable self-concept and tended to identify themselves in terms of external, rather than internal, factors. Their child-rearing attitudes tended to be accepting and protective of the children. These women expressed shame and guilt about the reasons for separation from their children and felt inadequate about assuming parental authority after release. These feelings of guilt and inadequacy were increased in women who had previously been involved in drugs. A literature review is provided; implications of findings are discussed. An index, tabular data, and 67 references are included.
Index Term(s): Behavioral science research; Children of incarcerated offenders; Female inmates; Inmate attitudes; Inmate Programs; Program evaluation; Women's correctional institutions
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