15th June 2003

The Ontario-based Center for Children & Families in the Justice System of the London Family Court Clinic has just published an exploratory study on the impact of maternal incarceration on children. Relying on a sample of 45 women and 90 children and adolescents in Ontario, “Waiting for Mommy: Giving a Voice to the Hidden Victims of Imprisonment” includes surveys of incarcerated mothers and mothers after release and interviews with children and adolescents, as well as a literature review, a hypothetical model of impact for children from four age groups, and recommendations. The study emphasizes the practical and emotional consequences of a mother’s imprisonment on a child-the incarceration prompted a change in residence for 43 percent of the children in the sample, for example-and underscores the need for more concerted action, particularly in certain regions of Canada , to meet the special needs of prisoners’ children. Only 18 percent of mothers surveyed said their children had been to visit them.

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Author: rmchristen