Children of Incarcerated Parents Essay
1814 Words8 Pages
When a person becomes a parent, their role in life undoubtedly changes. The person must become a teacher, a guide, and a helping hand in the life of the child. Research has shown that there is a distinct connection between how a child is raised and their overall developmental outcome. John Bowlby’s attachment theory emphasizes the importance of the regular and sustained contact between the parent-infant or parent-child relationship (Travis & Waul 2003). Yet, what happens when the only physical contact a child can share with their parent is a hand pressed on the shield of glass that separates the two? What happens when the last memory of their mother or father was from the corner of their own living room as they watched their parent…show more content…
Children are forced to forfeit their homes, their safety, their public and self-image, and their primary source of comfort and affection (Bernstein 2005). A national survey found that almost 70% of children when present when their parent was arrested (Bernstein 2005). Researcher Christina Jose Kamfner interviewed children who had witnessed their mother’s arrest and found that many suffered from post-traumatic stress symptoms; they could not concentrate or sleep and had flashbacks of the arrest (Bernstein 2005). The majority of the children at the scene of an arrest are taken away in a police car which is more intimidating than to say if they were taken away in a child welfare worker’s car (Bernstein 2005). Many of these children (is no other family is available) are shuffled around in the course of an arrest; the hospital for physical examinations first, then the police station for appropriate , “paperwork,” then to a juvenile detention center and lastly, they are deposited at a foster home (Bernstein 2005). Anyone can vouch that the process of what to do after the arrest is clearly a traumatizing one at that. After the arrest, children wait anxiously for the level of the sentence that their parent has to face. In most cases, children are unaware of why their parent is being sentenced because they were unaware that their parent was involved in the crime. Carl, for example, only remembered
Incarcerated Parents And Their Children Essay
The challenges of children who grow up with parents whom were incarcerated at some point in their childhood can have a major effect on their life. The incarceration of parents can at times begin to affect the child even at birth. Now with prison nurseries the impregnated mother can keep her baby during her time in jail. With the loss of their parent the child can begin to develop behavioral problems with being obedient, temper tantrums, and the loss of simple social skills. Never learning to live in a society they are deprived of a normal social life. “The enormous increase incarceration led to a parallel, but far less documented, increase in the proportion of children who grew up with a parent incarcerated during their childhood” (Johnson 2007). This means the consequences of the children of the incarcerated parents receive no attention from the media, or academic research. The academic research done in this paper is to strengthen the research already worked by many other people. The impact of the parent’s incarceration on these children can at times be both positive and negative. The incarceration of a parent can be the upshot to the change of child’s everyday life, behavioral problems, and depriving them a normal social life.
There have been many questions raised if the nurseries programs were fair but “the number of women incarcerated in state prisons in the United States (US) has dramatically increased in the past 20 years, and 70% of these women are the mothers of minor children, as of the last Bureau of Justice estimates” (Mumola, 2000). “Allowing women to parent their children within correctional facilities in the US may be “one of the most controversial debates surrounding the imprisonment of women” (Belknap, 2007, p. 203). However, there are policies allowing the mother to co-reside with her child, and only a few prisons have taken advantage of this opportunity. There are only four states that have prison nurseries in the United States such as New York, Nebraska, Washington, and Ohio. Each nursery has an obligation given to each mother for her to keep her child. Some prisons allow the mother to keep her child for a limited time if she completes classes. In Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, in New York, the child is permitted to stay at with its mother until they are 1 year of age. Mothers at Bedford Hills must also participate in parental classes taught by qualified inmates. The parents give the prison a sense of reassurance for allowing the babies in their prisons. Another prison is the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women which opened their prison nursery in the early 1990’s. The mother is allowed to keep her infant if her release date is before the child turns 18 months. Childbirth and parenting classes are mandatory before and after the birth of an incarcerated inmate’s child. The nursery at Washington Corrections Center for Women differs from the prison nurseries in New York, and Nebraska because it...
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