Maternal Imprisonment: The Enduring Impact of Imprisonment on Mothers and their Children

Lucy Baldwin, Sophie Mitchell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Maternal imprisonment is extremely disruptive. Most mothers who experience imprisonment have already experienced prior traumas in their lives, such as intimate partner violence, poverty, childhood abuse and sexual violence. Maternal imprisonment adds an additional layer of trauma to the lives of criminalised mothers, their children and their families. This chapter, drawing on the author’s empirical research, examines the persisting, intergenerational impact of imprisonment on mothers. It highlights how this affects relationships with both children and caregivers during imprisonment and post-release. The chapter analyses the enduring and traumatic impact of imprisonment on maternal identity and role, including how this can impact mothers’ successful rehabilitation and family relationships, sometimes for decades post-release. Using a matricentric-feminist and a socio-ecological approach to understand the individual, family, community and societal factors involved, the disruption to homes, lives and relationships caused by maternal imprisonment in the UK are examined and matricentric, trauma-informed recommendations are made to mitigate these harms.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Women’s Experiences of Criminal Justice
EditorsIsla Masson, Natalie Booth
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781000604207, 9781003202295
ISBN (Print)9781032064307
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2022

Publication series

NameRoutledge International Handbooks


Dive into the research topics of 'Maternal Imprisonment: The Enduring Impact of Imprisonment on Mothers and their Children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this