Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date

Spring 2005


This report first provides an overview of the statistical data on women in prisons in the U.S. over the past two decades. It pays particular attention to the literature on the effects of mothers' incarceration on their children and the gradual recognition of the emotional, economic, and legal consequences for families when parents, especially mothers, are incarcerated. When viewed in this broad context it becomes clear that the concerns and challenges families face extend beyond the perimeters of a single agency or policy area. We then present the comprehensive Family Connections Policy Framework we created for assessing the status of family connections policies and practices in the absence of guidelines. Next, we examine data on the Massachusetts female inmate population, and apply the Family Connections Policy Framework to the policies, practices, and resources in Massachusetts correctional facilities. Finally, we summarize our findings and make recommendations for change that can be achieved in short- and longer-term timeframes.



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