About Me

My Photo
Miss Vicki
A Nail That Sticks Out Gets Hammered
View my complete profile

31 March 2007

Mothers In Prison and The Daughters Left Behind

Lisa Ling, is a Special Correspondent for the Oprah Show and contributor to the National Geographic Channel and the Oxygen Network.

For the Oxygen Network Ling is hosting a series very important to her that explores the challenges that girls face worldwide: it's called "Who Cares About Girls?"

'Who Cares About Girls?' is a documentary series based on how young women are treated in this world. Her plight is to inspire everyone to stand up for them.

Lisa began her two part series with 'Daughters Left Behind.'

The vast majority of people in our society look no further after a woman has been sentenced to prison. No other than 'She got what she deserved.' Yet, maybe so. Unfortunately, the vast majority of women incarcerated in prison are mothers, mothers with daughters who are simply left behind.

If these young girls are fortunate enough loving grandparents or a family member will take care of them until mom returns home, but many aren't so lucky. And, if this is the case just the stress of the separation and the reason why brings on anxiety, depression, anger, socialization and often behavioral problems.

Families of the incarcerated have difficulties getting to prison for a visitation. Often, the institution is in a surrounding city or completely out-of-state. The amount MCI and others charge a loved one to accept a collect call is a crime within itself. The price is astronomical. The young girl may not only get to see mother for months and years at a time, but telephone calls can be sparse and on a time limit. A, 5 minute call could cost $7.00 then time is up.

Every reformatory has a different set of rules governing visitation. Either contact or no contact visits are permissible. If no contact is allowed then daughter isn't permitted to touch or hug her mother. If this is a guideline while on a visit, it's a possibility the female inmate must sit on her hands through out the visitation. This act is beyond cruelty for the continued growth of a child.

However, very positive changes have began to take place in several women's prisons. For instance, Shakapee Women's Prison in Minnesota and Bedford Hills maximum security prison in New York. Programs have been implemented so daughter can spend up to a week with their mothers. From one night a month, to a 4 day summer camp once per year.

The Children's Center at Bedford Hills

This program has been designed to afford the mothers and daughters an opportunity to spend 5 days in a row together. Where the visitation does takes place there are games art and other activities to help foster very much needed bonding and nurturing. They share meals laugh talk and hopefully do some healing.

Host families within the community provide a living place for the children during their stay.

Girl Scouts Beyond Bars

Strives to maintain a loving and nurturing mother and daughter relationship while mother is incarcerated. By helping the young girls better equip themselves while dealing with the loss and separation, which they are experiencing. And, hopefully providing the mothers a means to make positive decisions, upon release. As of today, there are over 37 Girl Scouts Beyond Bars helping 1,000 girls.

You Can Help

For more information on The Children's Center including information about becoming a host family, please call 914-241-3100 ext. 4050 or 4055.

No comments: