Effects of Incarceration on Mothers

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The rate of incarcerating women is rising and undesired rate. Most of these imprisoned women are mothers who have at least one child, therefore, making the price of incarceration to be worrisome. One of the negative impacts that the families of incarcerated mothers have faced is the issue of distress. In most cases, the families will undergo this effect due to lack of stable home life and separation from parents. These families are likely to experience aggression, anxiety and a high level of depression (Schwartz and Steffensmeier, 2007).  When incarcerated, most of the mothers are unable to perform their family roles. They will not be in a position to adequately take care of their children, which is one key role that they need to play. The mothers will not be in able to provide for their children who are still of tender age with all their basic needs. Their roles will be interrupted as they serve in prisons.

Health and Mental Risks for Women Behind Bars

Women behind bars often undergo mental and health risks while serving their incarceration. One of the psychological problems that most of them are likely to experience is a higher risk pregnancy. The main reasons for this risk include social and economic issues that the women sometimes undergo. High pregnancies risks associate itself with drug abuse such as smoking and alcohol abuse and the sexually transmitted diseases (Henriques and Gladwin, 2013). The women behind bars are also at a risk of disorders which are often related to traumatic experience in which the most common one being posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Women also experience mental risks such as enduring the feeling of loss and failure in their lives and do not deserve the identification as women. The risks make complexity and scope of problem to become evident.


Henriques, Z. W., & Gladwin, B. P. (2013). Pregnancy and motherhood behind bars. Special needs offenders in correctional institutions, 83-116.

Schwartz, J., & Steffensmeier, D. (2007). The nature of female offending: Patterns and explanation. Female offenders: Critical perspectives and effective interventions, 2, 43-76.

December 12, 2023



Illness Medicine

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Women'S Health

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