Episode 192 - Dr. Caroline Long Burry: "No One Asked About My Children": Voices of Incarcerated Mothers

Monday, May 23, 2016, 9:42:09 AM

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A report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed that from 1991 to 2007 the number of incarcerated mothers increased by a startling one hundred and thirty-one percent. In this podcast, Dr. Caroline Long Burry discusses a pilot study she conducted with these parents with the hope of better understanding their parenting experiences. Also explored are the mothers' attempts to negotiate the criminal justice system while in their role as parents.

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Average Rating: 4stars  very enlightening , Saturday, February 06, 2021

By T :

This podcast was very informative. It brings attention to how the use of incarceration as a form of punishment, not only punishes the individual facing time but also punishes children while negatively impacting the family structure. This podcast displays the importance and need to keep some form of parenting normalcy for the children of those who are incarcerated. The findings from the study really displays how the system does not attend to the needs of the children but focuses solely on punishing their mothers.

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Average Rating: 5stars  review from msw interventions ii student, Thursday, February 06, 2020

By Alexis F :

Initially what intrigued me about this podcast was my own experience with mothers in field; mothers who have a history with incarceration, parole, or human trafficking court which is a special designation that my placement works with. Among these women exists a very similar sentiment to the women who participated in this study: no one considers the well-being of children involved or the mother-child relationship. In fact, one of the most rewarding things I have gotten to do in my placement is make referrals for home and community based services for the children of mothers on my caseload.

Additionally, I found similarities in the ways the mothers in this study had to proactively advocate for the care of their children even before their arrest took place in some cases. With CPS and foster care involvement being as much of a fear as it was/is, my understanding was that mothers felt and feel pressured to keep their children as close to their own care as possible (through keeping them with relatives, for example).

Also, I think that it was important to note the role that the prison/justice system plays in the role of the families, and how the mothers chose to navigate the task of explaining their circumstances; they had to battle the taboo topic of incarceration with transparency and integrity for their children. I have noticed this idea in my placement as well; many mothers talk openly with their children about mental health, poverty, and incarceration in order to remove the stigma.

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Average Rating: 5stars  correctional system , Sunday, February 12, 2017

By Amanda B. :

I would highly recommend this podcast to fellow colleagues who are currently employed in the Criminal Justice System. As an intern in a Correctional Facility that works with the female population the podcast allowed me to develop connections of what is currently happening in my facility and about results of the study.
Dr. Caroline Long Burry was able to replicate quantitative study from an Australia Prison and use it in a Maryland Detention Center specializing with women who were serving 6 months in the facility. The study focused on how to plan for child care while incarcerated and how the mothers made contact with their children during their incarceration. Roughly, 2.5 million children have a parent that is incarcerated. One of the major issues that is raised throughout the podcast is the belief that the Criminal Justice System does not attend to the needs of children who have a parent who is incarcerated and the opportunity for more contact during their stay to make that connection with their children.
Out of the five women who were surveyed in the small pilot study, 3 out of 5 were arrested in front of their children, which can led to a traumatic experience for the child and two were able to made plans prior to their arrested to have their children at alternative locations. Such as, relatives or even foster care. Also, within the jail settings the contract with children is controlled by the jail with calls and visitation. Since the relatives with custody of the children may not always be supportive and some parents may lose custody of their children because of their arrest. Additionally, there are two types of visitation that is available in the jail, which is limited with glass between the child and their parent and sometimes physical contact is available based on certain programming at the jail. For instance, the back to school program with backpacks or as a reward for graduating from the trauma-inform program.

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