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Reentry and Renegotiating Motherhood Maternal Identity and Success on Parole

NCJ Number
Crime & Delinquency Volume: 55 Issue: 2 Dated: April 2009 Pages: 313-336
Marilyn Brown; Barbara Bloom
Date Published
April 2009
24 pages
This article discusses parenting women emerging from prison on parole and the challenges to their successful reentry into the community.
Parenting women emerging from prison on parole face numerous challenges to their successful reentry into the community. Along with finding housing, employment, and satisfying the conditions of their supervision, parenting women must also reassume their roles as mothers. This article adds to the literature on reentry by placing women's maternal concerns at the forefront of this process. Combining quantitative explorations of women's parole case files (203) with in-depth interviews (25), this research demonstrates that reentering mothers confront many of the same problems that mediated their incarceration: poverty, lack of education, unstable housing, lack of access to social services, underemployment, and addiction. While the maternal role may constitute a conventional identity "script" for these ex-inmates and motivate their success on parole, the challenges they face that impact their childrearing before prison make reassuming their maternal roles a precarious enterprise. Recommendations for gender-responsive policies and programs are provided. (Published Abstract)