DUAL PUNISHMENT: MOTHERS IN NIGERIAN PRISONS AND THEIR CHILDREN

RICHARD A. ABORISADE, OLUKUNLE O. BALOGUN

Abstract


ABSTRACT

The incarceration of women and the impact it has on children, families and the prisoner in terms of motherhood and parenting has become an increasingly prominent area of interest within the criminal justice and social welfare literature. Guided by attachment theory’s perspective on separation of mother from children, this current study explored the perceived unfulfilled parental tasks by incarcerated mothers; evaluated the care and support systems for nursing mothers in prison; examined the accessibility and frequency of contacts between incarcerated mothers and children, and investigated the effects of separation on children of incarcerated mothers.Twenty-one in-depth interviews (IDIs) were conducted among purposively selected female inmates who are equally mothers. Meanwhile, six prison officials of Ijebu-Ode and Old Abeokuta prisons and two child psychologists were engaged as key informants of the study. In spite of their incarceration, there is high perception of parenting responsibility among the women in prison as they were largely the primary provider of welfare for their children prior to their incarceration. The main factors that inhibit the imprisoned mothers from having regular contacts with their children include stigmatisation, superstitious beliefs about children visiting prisons, relocation, and the corrupt practices of prison security agents. Children who are separated from a parent due to prison suffer multiple problems associatedwith their loss. Correctional services in the country should be better equipped to manage incarcerated mothers and provide appropriate resources and services. There is need to advance knowledge on the experiences of women in the justice system and allocate attention to the services offered to incarcerated mothers so they may bettermanage their own lives and the lives of their children.



Keywords


Attachment Theory, Children, Inmates, Incarcerated mothers, Prison.

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References


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