"New York's Incarcerated Mothers and their Children" The Bedford Correctional Facility's Children's Center Program Hour Children and The Osborne Association Working Models of Intervention and Inspiration A CASE STUDY by Wendy Van Buren
This case study and research work will examine three key areas: The impact of incarceration of mothers in New York State, the impact incarceration has on the children of incarcerated mothers and evaluation of the effectiveness of programs and advocacy efforts for mothers and their children while incarcerated, exonerated and/or paroled. The alarming increase of incarcerated nonviolent first-time offending mothers inflicts incalculable damage on their children, families and communities. These at-risk children often become wards of the state living in foster care; residential treatment centers and/or relatives who are in many cases are unable or unwilling to provide adequate supports and supervision. Additionally, the negative impacts of long-term incarceration are many. Studies suggest there are deleterious consequences due to prolonged incarceration for the children of incarcerated mothers including, but not limited to; emotional trauma, negative educational impacts, continued homelessness and poverty, violence, substance use, youth pregnancy and the potential for inter-generational crime. The overall goal of this research is to educate offenders, their children and families, concerned citizens, communities, organizations and government about the importance of offering programming and services that support the positive impact of strengthening familial bonds, the necessity for humane treatment of offenders and their children caught in overburdened bureaucracy laden systems and the potential for social, political and economic change as a result of advocacy and reform.