Millions of children in the United States have a parent who is incarcerated and a growing number of these nurturers are mothers. Disrupted Childhoods explores the issues that arise from a mother's confinement and provides first-person accounts of the experiences of children with moms behind bars. Jane A. Siegel offers a perspective that recognizes differences over the long course of a family's interaction with the criminal justice system.
Presenting an unparalleled view into the children's lives both before and after their mothers are imprisoned, this book reveals the many challenges they face from the moment such a critical caregiver is arrested to the time she returns home from prison. Based on interviews with nearly seventy youngsters and their mothers conducted at different points of their parent's involvement in the process, the rich qualitative data of Disrupted Childhoods vividly reveals the lived experiences of prisoners' children, telling their stories in their own words. Siegel places the mother's incarceration in context with other aspects of the youths' experiences, including their family life and social worlds, and provides a unique opportunity to hear the voices of a group that has been largely silent until now.
"Criminology professor Siegel examines the experiences of two groups of children with mothers involved in the criminal justice system: children whose mothers have been arrested but not yet sentenced, and children whose mothers have been incarcerated for at least one year. A very compelling book. Highly recommended."
"Jane Siegel has written a sociological study that speaks, sotto voce, to the dire need to reform the USA's criminal justice policies and practices. There are times, though, when her text screams out at us. Incarcerated mothers lie at the center of Siegel's text, but their children occupy the field, and this is a battlefield. The children are pitted against poverty, drugs, poor schooling, and violence, and Siegel brings us into their lives—with and without their mothers. Siegel carefully builds a case againtst our 'nation's historic experiment with mass incarceration'."
—Teachers College Record
Author / Editor Bio
Jane A. Siegel is an associate professor of criminology at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey and chair of the department of sociology, anthropology, and criminal justice. She has published numerous articles on the long-term consequences of child sexual abuse, risk factors for victimization, and the effects of parental incarceration.
Table Of Contents
1. Living with Mom—Most of the Time
2. Outside the Curtained Windows
3. The Ubiquity of Violence
4. When the Criminal Justice System Comes Calling
5. They All Do the Time
6. What Lies Ahead