The role of trauma in the lives of mothers who have experienced imprisonment

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Although women only comprise around 5% of the prison population in England (Ministry of Justice, 2018), their imprisonment can have wide-reaching effects on families and wider society. Around 60% of female prisoners are mothers to dependent children (Caddle et al., 1997), in many cases being the sole carer. This highlights the intergenerational impact on families that maternal imprisonment causes. Existing evidence suggests that the majority of female prisoners have themselves endured difficult life experiences and in many cases experienced some kind of prior trauma in their lives (Green et al., 2005, Corston, 2007), primarily in the form of childhood abuse, domestic abuse and sexual violence. Yet it can also be seen that the experience of imprisonment and subsequent separation from children is a further traumatizing experience.

The term ‘intergenerational trauma’ has previously been used to describe and understand the experiences of other marginalised groups but has not yet been applied to women involved in the Criminal Justice System. This poster will depict research to be carried out in 2019 examining the role of ‘intergenerational trauma’ in the lives of mothers who have experienced imprisonment. The proposed research will take an ecological approach to examine the traumatic and supportive relationships experienced by women in England who have been in prison. Interviews incorporating the use of ecomaps will be carried out with mothers who have experienced imprisonment to examine their experiences and further understand the role of trauma in their lives. The poster will also examine how this research fits with current policy and practice in this area and how its findings could be operationalized.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2019
EventBritish Society of Criminology Conference 2019: Public Criminologies: Community, Conflict and Justice - University of Lincoln, Lincoln, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Jul 20195 Jul 2019,mid%2Dday%20on%203rd%20July.


ConferenceBritish Society of Criminology Conference 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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