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Detroit Legal Blog

Hardships for Mothers in Prison

Jul 14, 2016, by Maurice Davis in Criminal Defense, Legal Blog

A harsh reality of the U.S. justice system is that it often takes parents away from children. If you are charged with a crime, the Davis Law Group can help. Call a Michigan criminal defense attorney today at (313) 818-3238. We will assist you in navigating the legal system to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

Incarcerated Mothers Pose a Social Problem

Approximately 2.7 million children in the U.S. have a parent incarcerated in jail or prison, which amounts to 1 in 28 children. Nationwide, there are more than 120,000 incarcerated mothers and 1.1 million incarcerated fathers. While mothers are incarcerated at lower rates than fathers, the number of mothers in state and federal prisons increased by 122 percent between 1991 and 2007.

The majority of female inmates in state and federal prison are parents of minor children. Furthermore, it is estimated that at least 13,500 incarcerated women are currently pregnant. Incarcerated mothers are more than three times more likely than incarcerated fathers to have been to have been the only parent in the household at the time of incarceration. The placement of their children is a significant concern for incarcerated mothers, as they are five times more likely than fathers to report that a child is in foster care.

Visiting Incarcerated Parents Can Be a Challenge

Maintaining contact during incarceration has been shown to be beneficial for both parents and children. While contact can be accomplished through phone calls and letters, research indicates that in-person visitations are important to maintaining familial relationships and increase the likelihood of successful reunification after release. Corrections policies regarding children visitations and the relationship between the incarcerated parent and the children’s current caregiver are significant factors the frequency of personal visits.

Another barrier to personal visits is the distance families must travel to see their loved one in prison. According to research, 62 percent of parents in state prison and 84 percent of parents in federal prisons are incarcerated over 100 miles from their residence. The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that the majority of prisons are not easily accessible by public transportation. This helps put into context why 58 percent of mothers have no personal visits from any of their children while incarcerated.

Many Michigan Children Have Incarcerated Mothers

Michigan has some of the highest rates of incarcerated parents in the nation, with 228,000 children having a parent behind bars. According to a report from Kids Count, 10 percent of Michigan children are impacted by incarcerated parents. Only Indiana and Kentucky have a higher percentage. The report recommends that Michigan pass reforms to reduce incarceration, provide programs that assist children in transitioning after a parent is incarcerated, and fund job and education programs that will help parents once they are released.

Aside from having a policy of unrestricted visitation for children, the Michigan Department of Corrections also has a program called Staying in Close Touch, which allows incarcerated parents to record their voices reading a book to their children. The state also has a mentoring program for the most at-risk children of incarcerated parents, and 250 kids have been recruited thus far.

The importance of maintaining contact with children is one of the reasons the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan has instituted a program called One Day with God camp. As a part of this program, incarcerated mothers get to spend a whole day with their children playing games and interacting outside the normal prison visiting room.

Trust Michigan’s Davis Law Group for Experienced Legal Counsel

The skilled Michigan criminal defense attorneys at Davis Law Group, are prepared to provide aggressive and compassionate legal services. We understand how stressful it is to be charged with a crime, and we will fight for your rights in court. We have extensive experience defending against a wide range of criminal charges, and we pride ourselves on providing personalized client service.

If you need a Detroit criminal defense lawyer, call us today at (313) 818-3238 for a free and confidential consultation of your case.