Thursday, February 3, 2005

Children of Imprisoned Mothers

Quakers: Women in prison and their children...!

United Nations lobbying body reports on women in prison and their children. I thought that two recent publications from the Quaker group that lobbies the UN might be of interest to you.

This one is about the problems faced by and a bill of rights for the children of imprisoned mothers.

Imprisoned mothers has been the focus of a study and I am sure that the friends will realise that these rights apply equally to the children of imprisoned fathers.

The problem is, when you read the shocking statistics, there is a huge majority of women who are imprisoned who are sole carers for their children, and this has been the focus of this study. It is only 3 pages and includes a short draft of rights for the children.

Children of Imprisoned Mothers.pdf

This next one has more research and is longer. It has quoted sources and is quite academic looking, but you don't have to even lift a rock to find the sheer human misery that it describes.


Women in Prison & Children of Imprisoned Mothers

Maybe some of the figures might be of use some time in a campaign.

The Quaker United Nations Offices located in Geneva and New York represent Friends World Committee for Consultation (Quakers), an international non-governmental organisation with General Consultative Status at the UN. QUNO works to promote the peace and justice concerns of Friends (Quakers) from around the world at the United Nations and other global institutions. It is supported by the American Friends Service Committee, Britain Yearly Meeting, the worldwide community of Friends, other groups and individuals.

Related Updated

SHINE for Kids
What happens for a young person who has a parent in prison?

There are a lot of consequences for children or young people who have a parent in prison. During Groupwork the kids themselves have identified as being:

  • Isolated – feeling lonely
  • Stigmatised – feeling they aren't as good as others
  • Ostracised/ignored – left out
  • Missing out
    • on time with Mum or Dad
    • on activities, because there isn't enough money
  • Angry – at Dad, at Mum, at the police, at themselves
  • Deserted – betrayed, let down
  • Frightened
    • about Mum or Dad not being OK
    • about what is going to happen to them now
  • Humiliated/embarrassed – most kids wouldn't dare tell any of their friends
  • Stressed – stress can trigger anger/aggression, fits of crying, even bedwetting
  • Guilty – a lot of kids feel like it is their fault that mum or dad is in jail
  • Confused by changes in family dynamics
  • Insecure – most kids no longer feel safe and secure, they miss their parent
  • Low in self esteem
  • Having to become the adult
Statistics indicate that at any one time approximately 15,000 students in NSW are directly affected by the imprisonment of a parent, and that 60,000 students under the age of 16 have experienced parental incarceration at some point in their lives. The peer groups of each of these students can also be affected indirectly.

By justiceACTION posted 3 February 05

Related Links:

Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO)
On-line Resources on Women in Prison

Prison System Fails Women, Study Says
State policies designed for violent men make female offenders' rehabilitation difficult, an oversight panel finds. "If we fail to intervene effectively in the lives of these women and their children now, California will pay the cost for generations to come," said Commissioner Teddie Ray, chairwoman of the subcommittee that produced the report.

Children at risk, lack of govt support
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Senate inquiry finds PM 'misled' public on children overboard
Australian navy personnel rescue asylum-seekers from a sinking boat off Christmas Island in October 2001. The government came under attack in February 2002 for suggesting that asylum seekers had thrown their children overboard in an effort to stay in Australia.

Children at Abu Ghraib prison
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Report recommends freeing child detainees
The Human Rights Commission has found that some children held in Australia's immigration detention centres have been exposed to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

Civilian death toll to rise in Fallujah
The attack on the Iraqi city of Fallujah has taken its toll on Iraqi civilians no doubt including children and young babies. Iraqi's have witnessed civilian casualties. Yesterday during the assault on the main hospital nurses and patients were blindfolded after the US/Iraq militia stormed the main hospital and took control.

Parents on the inside leave children on the edge
Life in jail is an ordeal but it's a much harsher sentence for the child of a prisoner, writes Paola Totaro. 30 July 03.

Child detainees 'living in a nightmare', report finds
A report being released today documents disturbing evidence about mental health for children in detention centres.The report is a joint work by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, NSW University and NSW psychiatrists.

The children's crusader
It is all about prevention. As Fiona Stanley sees it, with one in five Australian teenagers experiencing significant mental health problems, there are just not enough treatment services to cope with the demand.

2nd Renaissance -36 Let The Girls Go! [263]
During 2003 an Australian woman, Kathleen Folbigg, was sentenced to 40 years in prison, with a non-parole period of 30 years. Her crime, which she continues to deny, was to consecutively smother her four children when they were aged between 8 and 19 months. She was largely convicted on the basis of entries in her private diary, although these did not specifically refer to her having killed her two sons and two daughters; only that she was her father's daughter. Her lawyers are appealing her conviction.