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Connected Mothers: A Follow-up Study of Incarcerated Women and Their Children

NCJ Number
Women and Criminal Justice Volume: 8 Issue: 4 Dated: 1997 Pages: 1-23
M Martin
Date Published
23 pages
The 70 mothers who were incarcerated in the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Shakopee in 1985 were studied to determine their commitment to parenthood and their relationships with their children after release from prison.
Demographic data were collected on all 70 participants. Fifty-five participants were interviewed in depth in 1985 or 1986; 36 of these 55 as well as 3 substitute caretakers were interviewed in 1991. Results revealed that these mothers' commitment to parenthood was deeply tenacious. Most of these mothers had sustained continuous, primary parenting from within prison and reunification with their children when released from prison when followed up 5 years later. Findings also revealed that frequent contact with their children in a nurturing, child-centered institution supported their ongoing custody of and future reunification with their children. Findings further indicated the willingness of families to step forward as caretakers for the children of incarcerated mothers. Findings also established the unhappy reality that one-third of the Shakopee mothers were unable to sustain continuous parenting despite their obvious love of their children, the involvement of caring relatives, and presence of generous prison visitation policies. Tables and 31 references (Author abstract modified)