Raising children in jail .

Charlie - posted on 12/17/2010 ( 43 moms have responded )

11,203

111

409

This was brought to my attetion after a similar story ran about an Australian prison running a similar program , what is your take is this in the best interest of the child ? Can they live a healthy , safe life in prison ? Do these mothers deserve to have their kids with them ?


MEXICO CITY — Beyond the high concrete walls and menacing guard towers of the Santa Martha Acatitla prison, past the barbed wire, past the iron gates, past the armed guards in black commando garb, sits a nursery school with brightly painted walls, piles of toys and a jungle gym.


Fifty-three children under the age of 6 live inside the prison with their mothers, who are serving sentences for crimes from drug dealing to kidnapping to homicide. Mothers dressed in prison blue, many with tattoos, carry babies on their hips around the exercise yard. Others lead toddlers and kindergartners by the hand, play with them in the dust or bounce them on their knees on prison benches.

Karina Rendón, a 23-year-old serving time for drug dealing, said her 2-year-old daughter thought of the 144-square-foot cell she shared with two other mothers and their children as home. “She doesn’t know it is a prison,” she said, smiling sadly. “She thinks it’s her house.”

While a prison may seem an unhealthy place for a child, in the early 1990s the Mexico City government decided it was better for children born in prison to stay with their mothers until they were 6 rather than to be turned over to relatives or foster parents. The children are allowed to leave on weekends and holidays to visit relatives.

A debate continues among Mexican academics over whether spending one’s early years in a jail causes mental problems later in life, but for the moment the law says babies must stay with their mothers. So the prison has a school with three teachers.

The warden, Margarita Malo, said the children had a calming effect on the rest of the inmates. The presence of children also inspires the mothers to learn skills or, in many cases, to kick drug habits that landed them in trouble in the first place.

And even though the prison is full of women capable of violence, the children usually walk safely among them, as if protected by an invisible shield. It is as though they tap the collective maternal instinct of the 1,680 women locked up here.

“The minors are highly respected by the population,” Ms. Malo said. “The fact we have children here creates a mind-set of solidarity. I have never seen aggression on the part of the inmates toward the children. Everyone acts as if they could be their children, and they don’t want anything to happen to them.”

Still, raising a child in prison presents a tough set of problems, mothers said in recent interviews. Those serving long sentences dread the day when they must be separated from their child because he or she has turned 6.

Others who lack financial help from relatives struggle to earn enough money in prison to care for a child. Several said they waged a constant struggle to keep their children from getting sick in the damp, drafty cells. They often have no money for the prescriptions the prison doctor gives them.

Yet, few want to give up their bright-eyed offspring to relatives on the outside. They say the children are like a breath of normal life inside the stuffy, deadening confines of the prison. “It’s beautiful,” said Victoria Jaramillo, as she held her 3-month-old daughter on her lap. “It keeps one busy.”

Ms. Jaramillo, who is 40, is serving a 20-year sentence on a drug-dealing conviction. She maintains that she was only ironing clothes in a house when the police burst in and discovered a cache of drugs. Whatever the truth, she faces the certainty that she will have to give up her daughter, Frida, in six years.

“The only thing that bothers me is I will have to lose her,” she said. Dressed in a pink fleece jumpsuit, the baby looked up at her mother with dark, innocent eyes.

A mother’s crime plays no role in the decision to let her keep a baby born in jail, the warden said. Cecilia Nava López, 25, has served two years of a 27 ½-year sentence after being convicted of causing her stepchild’s death, a charge she denies. She was pregnant with her fourth child when the death occurred, and she was incarcerated based on the testimony of the father of her children.
Ms. Nava López said it was hard to keep her spirits up, facing such a long sentence for a death she said was not her fault. But taking care of her son, Emmanuel, who is 20 months old, gives her life some meaning. “He motivates me to keep trying to improve myself,” she said.

Ms. Rendón, however, said she sometimes wished she could give her daughter to relatives to raise. No one gives her money, so she makes a living selling snacks to visitors. Her child is delicate and gets sick frequently with chest colds, she said. She said she considered the prison food unhealthy, so she buys food for the girl from a grocery store the prison allows to operate inside its walls.

“I think the best thing for my daughter would be for her to be outside with her grandmother,” Ms. Rendón said. “I have to take her to work with me.” She pauses. “But the truth is I need her. She is something very special.”

Cell doors clang open at 7 a.m. and the guards call the roll at 8 a.m. Most of the mothers live together on the bottom floor of Cellblock H. They take their children to the school at 8:30 a.m. and pick them up at 2:30 p.m. The children spend the rest of the day in their mothers’ cells or with their mothers in the exercise yards.

The school has barbed wire above a yellow sign reading Cendi, short for Centro de Desarrollo Infantil, the Center for Child Development. On a recent afternoon, the children and their mothers gathered for La Posada, a traditional Mexican Christmas celebration. They sang songs about Joseph and Mary’s search for a place to stay in Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus in a manger. Then the children broke a star-shaped piñata and scrambled after the candy. It was hard to believe that they were surrounded by prison walls.

Elsa Romero Martínez, a psychologist who runs the school, said the children showed no signs of overly aggressive behavior. There have been few reports of abuse, though one child, suffering bruises, was taken away from a cocaine-addicted mother two years ago.

The thorniest problem she and the teachers face is preparing the children and mothers for separations once the children reach 6. “We have to teach them to say goodbye to the mothers,” she said.

To show them that a wider world exists, the teachers try to take the children on field trips as often as possible. Their budget is limited and they rely on charity for the outings. They have managed only three this year — to a museum, an amusement park and a children’s theater.

Some of the mothers live in a state of limbo, because a third of the prisoners have yet to be convicted of a crime. Diana Merlos Espericueta, 24, was arrested in December 2004 on charges of being a member of a kidnapping ring. She maintains that she dated the gang leader, the father of her child, but knew nothing of his business dealings.

For three years, she has waited for a judge to decide her case. She gave birth to her daughter, Jaqueline, soon after being incarcerated and has watched her grow to become a sprightly toddler, not knowing what the future holds for them. She faces a long sentence, possibly 70 years, if convicted.

Watching her child play amid plastic balls at the prison’s school, she said she lived in a state of impotent fear. Sometimes, she said, she contemplates committing suicide if she is forced to spend the rest of her life in jail and to give up her child. “The confinement is very hard,” she said.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Tara - posted on 12/27/2010

2,567

14

114

I like the idea of this program but it is full of problems that don't seem to have any easy solutions.
The separation at age 6 can't possibly happen without having lasting negative consequences in mom is not being releases soon after. I think when someone is serving a long prison term, it is in a way selfish of them to keep their babies, knowing the potential trauma that child will suffer upon separation. I honestly think if I were in that position, as hard as it would be, I would rather have my child live with a caring family, whether that was my own (if my hypothetical family was nice and nurturing that is) or an adoptive family. I would want her to have a strong and permanent bond with a mother that will be there all her life, not just the first 6 years. And maintaining a relationship after that would be hard to do, it would almost be harder for a child that lived there with mom than for one who has just visited every other weekend.
I don't know, I think it could work under a better model, in a separate institution and with different conditions. It would work in Canada for those serving a sentence of 2 years less a day. Which is not served in a federal penitentiary, but a lower risk provincial one.
I wonder if we actually have anything like that here? I doubt it.
I certainly don't think it's sick or disgusting or stupid etc. I just think the idea has merit, but the execution sucks for the most part.
:)

[deleted account]

A few things...
It seems there are so many pre-conceived opinions on prisons that are just not based on truth.

My daughter has been in prison 3 times. She's two. She's unharmed. Very different from living in a prison, I'll admit.

Luxuries? In the prisons I have experience with...

cable...nope

meals...yes, doing otherwise would be cruel and unusual, but NOT "good" meals...ever eaten prison food?

snacks...they buy them with money from relatives or use money that they've earned

work and exercise...any other ideas how to safely allow them to get out their pent up energy and anger? Plus some of the work allows them to build skills that they can use upon release, have a good job and not be a menace

phone calls and visitation...supervised and once a week

and I'll add this one to your list

education...along the same lines as having a job, helps give them a skill they can use upon release, because they are going to get out and would you rather they have a skill to earn money, or fall back into their old crimes?

Okay, so the children thing, I can see taking a stance against it. I'm not even totally convinced that it's a good idea. But I don't think it's "absolutely sick" if done under certain conditions. It COULD be a good thing...if you understand how prisons and rehabilitation actually works.

Another thing...you argue that it's harmful for children, then turn around and say all these "good" things prisoners have...the meals, jobs, etc. Which is it? Good or bad? I TOTALLY AGREE that the prison in this article is harmful. They are not meeting the basic needs of the children. But it doesn't HAVE to be that way.

[deleted account]

I disagree that the sole purpose of prison is punishment. Many incarcerated people have a problem that punishment won't fix, and when they are out they will still be a menace to society. REHABILITATION is what needs to happen for certain crimes. I can see how for lesser crimes with light sentences being allowed to have your child could serve as a form of rehabilitation. And I don't think it is harmful to a very young child, so long as their needs are being met...warm place to sleep, medical care, nutritious food, and a place to play, grow and develop. A prison CAN provide that...the one in the article is obviously lacking on a few of those things, but I don't see why it has to. The government would be paying for these kids to have all that if they were wards of the state anyway.

Stifler's - posted on 12/19/2010

15,141

154

604

Where do the kids go after 6 though? To family or to foster homes? How will they feel about that at age 6 when they understand that the person they've spent the last 6 years with is mum and now they're going to live with someone else? I suppose this happens every day but it's setting children up to have this happen if you ask me. I think to sara's question if they're getting out in 6 years or less why not just have the kids with them but if they're serving life why bother with that bit! Let the kid have a nice life outside prison walls where they can nip down the street to the shops and travel with a relative or the father. I really don't agree with homicidal maniacs or child abusers being allowed to keep their baby.

Joanna - posted on 12/17/2010

2,096

19

137

What bothers me is the description of the damp drafty cells, where some children get sick often and the mom can't pay for prescriptions... Yet they keep the children there because it makes the moms say better. Putting your feelings before your Childrens health is not acceptable.

43 Comments

View replies by

Sherri - posted on 12/27/2010

9,593

15

391

Kaleigh you can't take your children in prison with you this is just children who are born while the mom's are in prison.

[deleted account]

I think this is absolutely sick. As a mother I would never do anything that could jeopordize my freedom to be with my child that means not breaking the law. Not only is it absolutely wrong to have children in close proximity to a jail but these kids are unhealthy because of it. As a mother how could you allow that? As unfathomable as it is to imagine being separated from my son I have to admit if I had done something illegal and had to go to jail I would be hoping that my family would teach him that it would have been my fault for breaking the law not that the big bad system put their mommy away. You are in prison as horrible as it may sound being involved with your children is not an absolute right! criminals have far too many luxuries these days, free cable, three square meals (good ones too) with additional snacks of pop and chips etc, easy work to keep occupied, exercise/outdoor time, social interaction with other inmates, phone calls, visiting time, opportunities to leave for special occasions. Yes lets just teach our children that if you go to jail nothing really changes except your address, not exactly the future I see for my son. It isn't like they got arrested for J-walking or littering it was drug-dealing, homicide, are you serious? It donesn't matter that the inmates enjoy having their babies close by its supposed to be whats best for the child and I'm sorry but mommy murder is not the best influence on a toddler no matter how you try and spin it.

C. - posted on 12/20/2010

4,125

35

242

"Christina---that show im pregnant and ... was the prison im talking about in columbus Nebraska."

Sorry, Shauna.. I haven't read all the posts, so I didn't know anyone had mentioned it yet :/

@Sharon.. The show I watched, they had a small nursery. Your basic crib and I think a changing table, locker for clothes and you could decorate it how you wanted to (with limited supplies like wall vinyls and stuff). They also had a bunch of used clothes that the moms could kind of 'shop' from so their babies would have something to wear. There was also a small play area with some toys. I THINK the babies had their own rooms, but I can't be sure. It's been several months since I've seen it. But if I can find a clip for you, I'll post it so you can see it for yourself.

Sharon - posted on 12/20/2010

11,585

12

1315

i would hope I wouldn't be as selfish as some of them are too. I would want my baby to be happy and healthy with potential and options ... NOT in a drafty prison (the prisoners' words).

Nikkole - posted on 12/20/2010

1,505

31

49

oh ok well the ones ive watched the babies stayed in nursery only! But i still dont think its good for a child to be raised in a place like that i know i wouldn't!

Sharon - posted on 12/20/2010

11,585

12

1315

the article posted here - the babies stayed with the mother in their shared cell, not in a nursery? Only the school aged children spent the day away from their moms, but that is like any other school aged child.

Nikkole - posted on 12/20/2010

1,505

31

49

Ive see a few shows about women in prison with babies and some times the family takes it or social services! I could see a sentence of a year or two with a child there but not longer than that i really think it would have an impact on the baby because the moms dont get to stay in the nursery with there babies 24/7 someone else does so if the baby was in there 6yrs or so would the child behave and listen to there mother or have behavior problems and do the kids get to leave the jail and go to the park or just out or do they have a park at the jail i think if they didn't get to get out of that place it would be like punishing the child! Just asking those questions lol i dont know how all that works exactly

Shauna - posted on 12/20/2010

1,015

19

35

Christina---that show im pregnant and ... was the prison im talking about in columbus Nebraska. My stepson was in that prison untill he was 2 yrs old. His mother said it was very scary having him in there, but she chose too b/c it meant a shorter sentece and gave her something to do.

Sharon - posted on 12/20/2010

11,585

12

1315

Nikkole - in the case of short sentences - what are they to do with the babies in the mean time?

I get what you're saying. But if they're going to get the "privilege" of having their children when they get out ... there's a lot of damage to fix.

My other thoughts on this subject?

What about the children left behind? Babies & toddlers? Taking the whole family into the prison seems a bit extreme. But why is the infant born in prison, more deserving than the baby or child left at home?

Nikkole - posted on 12/20/2010

1,505

31

49

I don't agree with children being raised in jails at all! Prisoners are prisoners for a reason they couldn't follow the laws and rules as everyone esle so they pay the price they should't be allowed to have there child with them yes its important for the mom to be with there baby BUT a prison is NO place for a child!!! Prisoner's get tooo much already i mean for god sakes they get 3meals a day, a place to sleep, tv,jobs,schooling,and exercise! I know people can change and that is awesome but they should have to wait till there sentence is UP to get any privileges back just like everyone else!

[deleted account]

I personally don't agree.
It's not like you steal and get sent to jail right away. People get warnings and plenty of them. So IMO if they continue to do this sort of behaviour knowing their is a child that will be involved, either while pregnant or have had the child, they should not get to raise the child while they are in prison it's part of the punishment.
It would have to be a case by case senario.

C. - posted on 12/20/2010

4,125

35

242

In that case, Sara, the child should stay with the mother.. AS LONG AS the mother is due to get out while the child is still very young. Not every case will be the same and modifications will have to be made. For the most part, I don't think it's right for kids to grow up in jail, but in this particular instance you brought up, they really don't have much of a choice.

[deleted account]

Christina, what if the other option is being bounced around the foster care system? I understand, completely, wanting a stable family member to care for the child...but what if there is not one? Would it be better for the child to be with it's mother in jail (and both getting out before the child is old enough to remember it) or being passed from foster home to foster home?

Sharon - posted on 12/20/2010

11,585

12

1315

I felt a huge a relief when i read Cathy S. idea of women with shorter sentences keeping their babies.

If someone is serving a life sentence or a sentence that will see a child is an adult by the time it is served... then maybe the state needs to negate her parental rights and place the baby up for immediate adoption. An open adoption. "This woman gave birth to you and loves you, she gave you life." Possibly an "aunt" like relationship could be developed.

I dunno - but the pain the children suffer when they leave their mothers' must be horrendous. How many of them go to live with relatives/family/father that care enough or have the resources to take the child back for frequent visits or hell, annual visits? Now what kind of mental and emotional suffering will the child face?

The mother has made her bed and she can lie in it. She hurts? So fucking what? She murdered, sold drugs, facilitated drug deals, whatever. There will ALWAYS be exceptional cases - but on average - you guilty as sin shit head... I don't give a crap for.

C. - posted on 12/20/2010

4,125

35

242

I actually watched a show about this 'I'm pregnant and.. In prison', I think it was.



I don't like kids being raised in jail. It doesn't seem right to me at all. They are an innocent party in everything and I feel like it's a punishment for them as well and I just don't think that's fair to the child.



On the other hand, though, I have to say some of those women are really trying hard to change their lives and really want the best for their children, including being able to bond with them in the first years.



So in a way I'm on the fence about it, I guess. But leaning more towards children shouldn't be raised in jail. But if I were in one of the mother's shoes, I can't say I wouldn't want my child right there with me to bond.. This is a sensitive issue. I do feel that having your child raised by someone NOT in prison is the best way to go.. I'm just saying if I were in the same situation, I can kind of see why they would choose to put them in the prison nursery.



It wouldn't be an easy decision..

Sherri - posted on 12/20/2010

9,593

15

391

I think for shorter sentences yes keep them with their mom's for longer sentences No. Too hard to rip a 6yr old from the only environment they have ever known then.

[deleted account]

Jocelyn, I agree with that. There are a lot of flaws in the program in the article...that being one of them. But I don't think the idea of young children in prison with their mothers is necessarily bad under certain circumstances.

Shauna - posted on 12/20/2010

1,015

19

35

yeah when it comes to those cases when the child must leave at age 6 .... thats just wrong.

Jocelyn - posted on 12/20/2010

5,165

42

275

Disclaimer: This doesn't pertain to those with guaranteed short sentences.
I'm sorry, but these women are fucking selfish! How dare they keep their children knowing full well that they are going to be forced to leave when they are 6? What a way to destroy your child's sense of security.

Jenn - posted on 12/20/2010

2,683

36

96

I don't think they should have their children in the jail. They are in jail for a reason - they broke the law and need to be punished. Part of that punishment is living in a cell without your loved ones. If you wanted to stay with your kids then you should have thought about that before you did whatever it is you did.

Shauna - posted on 12/20/2010

1,015

19

35

I dont know how it is everywhere in the world but here in nebraska women are only allowed to keep their children in prison if there is a probation date in the near future, they cant be lifers. i still dont agree with it. Prison Sucks, and being allowed to have your child with you in prison just helps ease the pain. You are in prison to be punished not rewarded.

Tah - posted on 12/20/2010

7,412

22

400

it seems to me that the children are set up for disapointment, I don't think being inside those walls in a place that they say are unfit, drafts, damp etc, is doing them any good. I know some of the mothers don't have family to help care for the children, but does that change after 6 years for the ones who don't. soes some family member jump in with a cape and say give me little johnny, i didn't care for these 6 years now here i am. Another thing, where do those with no family go for the weekends, to a foster home to see what it will be like in a couple years. For the ones who do have family to send the children to on the weekends, will that family not take the child until the mother is out?...i think children need to be able to play in the grass and the dirt and the snow and not just on field trips. I don't think i agree with it. I guess when you are mother in that situation you want your baby, as you should, but , from the outside looking in, i don't get it...

[deleted account]

Dont agree with it at all, criminals cant behave themselves in society so they should not be allowed to raise children. This cant be good for the children either to be taken away from the only parent they've ever known at 6 years old at least if its done as a baby they dont suffer. I couldnt care a monkeys how the mothers feel they should have thought of the consequences before they commited crimes.

Amanda - posted on 12/19/2010

668

16

37

Wow...I mean this is really really sad to think about! I mean yes every mother deserves to raise their own child, but in a prison?!?! I mean wouldn't you think you'd want your child to be with a family member outside of a PRISON! To actually have the chance at a somewhat normal life? To know that yes mommy did something bad and is now paying for it and that they'll be allowed to see her once in a while? I would personally want that...can you imagine the suffering these children have to go through when they turn 6!? I mean it'd be heartwrenching to have to watch something like that let alone being the mother or child having to say goodbye! I mean OMG that would just be soo horrible! YOu have bonded together for 6 yrs and than poof you're gone, you're no longer with mommy all day everyday you are now living with someone else, having to learn things all over again. Having to meet new people, having to socialize with others, having to go from a private quiet "safe" place to something completley different! For that very reason right there I think it's wrong.

Prison is a place for you to think about what you did and why you did it. Why are you behind these 4 walls day in and day out, for 10 to 50 yrs to even life?! Why would you WANT to bring up your child in a prison! I mean there not a hotel or anything of the sort! They are full of people who have disobeyed the law in one way or another and are serving their time...in my opinion NOT a place to raise a child....

Shauna - posted on 12/19/2010

1,015

19

35

Do not support it at all. Here in Nebraska their is a prison for women that have a maternity ward that allows mothers to keep their children with them. Its one of the few prisons in the states that does this. My Husbands X girlfriend was in prison for Meth. She did it while she was pregnant and knowing she was pregnant as well. She also has two other children whom she lost custody of in the past 1 for child neglect and the other for child abondonment. The only reason she chose to keep this child is b/c she got special treatment in the maternity ward, and got out of prison to go to group meetings with other pregnant women. She kept the baby for her own selfish reasons b/c she earned "good time" while in prison and therfor got a shorter sentance. Once she was out of prison she could care less about that child and pawned it off on family members, and whoever. My point being from the females i know that have been in this posistion all agreed they would keep their children b/c it meant a easier time in prison with special prvilages and shorter sentences. I do not agree with this. These women know this and having something to take care of *baby* gives them something to do while in prison... thats what the majority of the women see this oppurtunity as.

[deleted account]

"(Toni, prisons are huge places and it appears this one actually has a supermarket and a park.)"

I didn't realise that Sara, I was thinking about the jails here and they don't have them. :-)

I agree with your post but it also concerns me about the psychological effects for the mothers, who have their children took off them at 6. I think as long as the conditions are suitable for raising a child then mums who will be released before the child reaches 6 should be allowed to raise their children, I'm not sure about women who have longer sentences.

[deleted account]

Janessa, that's why I believe in rehabilitation. I've known prisoners to completely turn their life around. And for short sentences, I believe that allowing very young children to live with their mothers is a great form of rehabilitation for these women. I just don't like that some of these kids are being ripped away at age 6.

Janessa - posted on 12/17/2010

444

38

28

I support those with short sentences as Cathy S mentioned. These people are in jail for a reason they cannot obey the laws in our society why should they have the same rights as someone that follows the laws. Common on people get real these women are they really going to step up after prison majorityof them don't anyways.

[deleted account]

Would anyone's feelings change if only women that would be released before the child's sixth birthday were allowed to keep their children?

Jessica - posted on 12/17/2010

986

20

64

Has anyone seen the movie Leonera/Lion's Den? Its about exactly this- a woman who is incarcerated while pregnant, in a womens' jail where the women are allowed to keep their children with them. she has her baby and raises him, and the movie shows a lot of the hardships these women face but also the advantages too. It takes place in Argentina and if I remember correctly, was actually shot at a women's prison. Its a really good movie and even if you don't understand Spanish you should still check it out- I don't but still managed to understand much of the movie.

That said I don't know how I feel about the issue overall. I think it could be very beneficial for the inmates to be allowed to keep their children- but there are obvious downfalls like the lack of proper medical care, and having to give them up at 6 years.

Bonnie - posted on 12/17/2010

4,813

22

262

As much as I would want my child with me, I think it would be selfish of me to keep them there. I wouldn't want my children experiencing that kind of a life.

Amanda - posted on 12/17/2010

697

15

25

I'm torn..... I can see the benefits, but at the same time, like Kate said, I can also see the harm to the child's development......

Kate CP - posted on 12/17/2010

8,942

36

758

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand it's GREAT for the inmates but on the other hand it has the potential (very real potential) of being seriously damaging to the children's psyche and development. :/

[deleted account]

I'm going to think over this.



I have a different view of prison life and actually maintain respect for many of the incarcerated. I believe in rehabilitation. My dad volunteers on a weekly and monthly basis inside two different prisons. My husband works in a prison. I've volunteered at children's days inside of two different prisons on three occasions (children come in for one day to a carnival like atmosphere to spend a day with their dad, after their incarcerated father has completed a fatherhood course...enlightening and heartbreaking.) We've had released inmates over at the house. We even considered living in housing for employees of the prison...inside of the prison. Saying this so you know where I'm coming from...



I'm not concerned for the safety of the children in this prison. But I do worry about the psychological effect of taking a child from his mother at age 6. THAT is my biggest concern, personally. Perhaps if only mothers of children who will be released by that age were allowed their children...



I don't think the kids will suffer any damage from living inside the prison during early years of life. It's being ripped from their mothers at age 6 that will cause the damage.



(Toni, prisons are huge places and it appears this one actually has a supermarket and a park.)

[deleted account]

I feel prison is not a place for children, they should be allowed freedom to experience the world around them, simple things like going to the park or to the supermarket teaches children important lessons, by being in prison they are missing out on this.

It also concerns me that at 6 the children will understand the separation from their mother more than when they are infants because really their mother is their life - I realise they do have visits on the weekends to relatives but they spend most of their time with mom. Surely that is not healthy for the children.

Not only should the childrens interests be considered the mums well being needs to be considered as well "She pauses. “But the truth is I need her. She is something very special.” this from a woman who is spending 27 years in jail, she will have to give her daughter up at 6 years old, how will she cope when she has to do this? Instead of allowing the women to raise their children in jail, the authorities should be working with the women so they are able to cope with their time in jail and so they do not need the crutch of having their children with them, they should be given coping strategies right from the beginning of their sentences. Allowing their children to remain in jail with them only prolongs their agony because they know that in a few years they have to give up their child, their reason for living, it is cruel, to both the mums and the children.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms