The Effect of Incarceration and Reentry on Children, Families, and Communities

The presentation about pregnant incarcerated women raised some pretty interesting questions about motherhood in prison. It’s something I never considered until that one presentation. The idea of sort of creating a “home-like” prison environment where mothers can be with their children is a little bit controversial for me. On the one hand, mothers can be with their children and continue to develop healthy relationships without the trauma of prolonged separation, which is great. But on the other hand…to me it almost seems like having a privilege that other people who commit the same minor crime, but do not have children, would not have. I wonder if that’s fair?

However, this could be a case where the benefits to the child and family overrule the other questions about fairness and justice. This article ( discusses the effects of incarceration and reentry on children, families, and communities. If one scrolls down or clicks on the “Parent-child Relationships and Children’s Care” section, one will find that there are a lot of problems associated with separation due to incarceration. But the interesting part is even the mindset of the incarcerated may play a major role in the problems surrounding family breakdown, rather than just the separation itself. Overall, I think this article makes a strong case for at least increased visits for families in prison (as well as mothers), but perhaps also gearing toward a prison structure that’s more conducive to preserving the family.



Hairston, C. F. & Addams, J. (2001). Prisoners and families: Parenting issues during incarceration. Retrieved from

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