‘Overwhelmed and powerless’: Staff perspectives on mother-infant separations in English prisons

Powell, Claire, Ciclitira, Karen ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7222-0334 and Marzano, Lisa ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9735-3512 (2020) ‘Overwhelmed and powerless’: Staff perspectives on mother-infant separations in English prisons. Journal of Criminal Psychology, 10 (4) . pp. 311-328. ISSN 2009-3829 [Article] (doi:10.1108/JCP-04-2020-0017)

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Imprisoned mothers are at increased risk for poor psychological health and psychological distress when separated from their children, so staff need to be highly skilled to support the women. However, there is a paucity of research focusing on staff experiences around sensitive issues such as mother-child separation. This study aimed to understand the challenges facing staff and how these might be addressed.

This qualitative interview study explored the views and experiences of 24 prison-based staff in England working with female prisoners separated from their infants.

Staff emphasised the challenges of working with separated mothers, specifically the emotional impact of this work, and the impact of the wider criminal justice system on their sense of agency.

A focus on the experience of separation highlights the broader problem of incarcerating women in general. Reducing the number of mother-child separations would mitigate the impact on both women and staff.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 30945
Notes on copyright: Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited. This AAM is provided for your own personal use only. It may not be used for resale, reprinting, systematic distribution, emailing, or for any other commercial purpose without the permission of the publisher
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Lisa Marzano
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2020 12:59
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 18:09
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/30945

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