Mother-infant separations in prison. A systematic attachment-focused review of the academic and grey literature

Powell, Claire, Ciclitira, Karen ORCID logoORCID: and Marzano, Lisa ORCID logoORCID: (2017) Mother-infant separations in prison. A systematic attachment-focused review of the academic and grey literature. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 28 (6) . pp. 790-810. ISSN 1478-9949 [Article] (doi:10.1080/14789949.2017.1324580)

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This review systematically searched UK academic and grey literature in relation to mother and child separation in prison. Attachment theory is referred to in current prison policy for mothers (PSO 4801, 2008), and could provide a framework linking policy and practice. Reviewing grey literature provided an opportunity to explore practice-based literature. 24 academic papers and 51 grey documents were reviewed. Use of attachment theory in the academic literature varied according to discipline, ranging from extensive use to no use. There was greater use of attachment theory in the grey literature. Despite linguistic differences, all documents highlighted the detrimental impact of separation on imprisoned mothers. However, specificity was lacking regarding support for mothers, and staff needs were overlooked. Given its use across the sparse research and practice literature, and its basis for policy, attachment theory could underpin theoretically informed support for imprisoned mothers separated from their infants and staff who support them.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 21802
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology on 10/05/2017, available online:
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Depositing User: Lisa Marzano
Date Deposited: 10 May 2017 15:26
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2022 14:06

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