Time Served: Perspectives on Incarcerated Women and their Children


Series: Law, Crime and Law Enforcement
BISAC: SOC028000; SOC047000
DOI: https://doi.org/10.52305/VYGO5037

Using personal interview accounts, focus group discussions, and semi-structured questionnaires analyzed from a sample of female long-term jail inmates, this book focuses on understanding the experiences of mothers in confinement, particularly with regard to coping with separation from children. The chapters examine the extent to which familial background characteristics (i.e., living situation while growing up, family history of incarceration, and parental abuse of drugs and alcohol) relate to the female inmate’s own circumstances including abuse prior to incarceration, history of drug and/or alcohol abuse and physical illness. Specific race/ethnicity, age, and social class differences regarding these familial background characteristics and the female inmate’s own patterns of abuse and victimization are also explored. Additionally, the book describes the methods of treatment including drug/alcohol therapy, mental health counseling, medical care, group counseling, parenting classes, and reunification counseling, and the differences that exist regarding effective treatment and the female offender’s familial background. Emphasis is placed on the mechanisms that the female inmates use to cope with their incarceration, and the specific factors that relate to their use of drugs/alcohol, including previous sexual, emotional, and physical abuse. Investigations also focus on the type of drugs used prior to incarceration, in addition to policy implications for criminal legal processing of female inmates with children, many of whom engage in drug-related crimes to escape adverse, abusive situations during childhood and into adulthood. Finally, select chapters include an expansion of the work on mothers to investigate patterns of behavioral and emotional adjustment outcomes among children and adolescents experiencing maternal incarceration using data drawn from interviews and surveys as well as a national sample.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. A History of Women’s Imprisonment

Chapter 2. The “Forgotten Offender” Revisited: Evolving Characteristics of Female Prisoners, Drug Use, Abuse and Treatment Issues

Chapter 3. Mother and Child: Separation, Reentry and Parenting Issues among Incarcerated Mothers

Chapter 4. Preparing for Return to Society: The Hidden Costs of Mother’s Confinement

Chapter 5. Disrupted Childhood: Assessing the Linkage between Familial Criminality and Adolescent Adjustment Outcomes

Chapter 6. Future Directions in the Study of Maternal Incarceration and Child Development



Author’s ORCID iD

Zina McGeehttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-0286-3013

Additional information



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