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Incarcerated Mothers

  • By: Rebecca Reviere
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

In the early 21st century, over 100,000 women were incarcerated in state and federal prisons in the United States. Most of these women have children and hope to reunite with them upon release. While less is known about maternal status in other facilities, many other women were in private prisons, jails, or juvenile justice centers. When approaching the subject of incarcerated mothers, it is important to examine: (1) the population of mothers and their children; (2) the skyrocketing numbers of women behind bars; (3) pregnancy behind bars; (4) custodial placements for children; (5) contact between women and their children; and (6) the impact of the Adoption and Safe Families Act.

Prison Population of Mothers

Approximately 75 percent of women in prison have dependent children, and most of ...

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