Children of Mothers in Jail: Where Do They Go? How Do Mothers Perceive Their Placements?

Susan J. Rose

The perceptions of 145 incarcerated mothers of minor children in a large Midwestern jail were examined to understand the correlation between where their children are living during their incarceration and the mothers’ feelings about these placements and relationships with their children. Mothers were most satisfied if children lived with maternal grandparents, and least satisfied if children were in foster care. Women with higher scores for the relationship with close relatives, those having contact with their child(ren) while incarcerated, and mothers with no children in foster care reported feeling better about these placements. The findings highlight the importance of women maintaining contact with their children and their children’s caretakers while incarcerated.

Women and Criminal Justice