Incarcerated Women: Their Histories and Their Children
The number of women imprisoned has increased threefold in the last 10 years. Furthermore, 75 percent of the women in prison are mothers, typically of two to three children, and about 7 to 10 percent are pregnant when they are arrested. An overwhelming number of women in the criminal justice system have drug problems. Their drug use is often associated with childhood physical abuse and experience of family violence. It is also connected with their children's risk of abuse. Like children of divorced or deceased parents, children of prison inmates often show signs of distress caused by the lack of a stable home life and parental separation, such as depression, aggression, poor school performance, and truancy. And many times, they also follow their parents' criminal behavior patterns. In this fact sheet, the authors offer basic information and statistics about incarcerated women and their children.