Title

Women Ex-offenders as Mothers: Intergenerational Risk and Resiliency Factors in the Lives of Women Ex-offenders

Presenter Information

Phyllis J. Meltzer
Jack Scott

Start Time

30-10-2004 8:30 AM

End Time

30-10-2004 10:00 AM

Abstract

About 70% of women incarcerated in the nation’s prisons are the mothers of one or more children under the age of 18 years. Past research shows that many of these children are at high risk for later criminal behavior, but our understanding of their early living arrangements is incomplete. In particular, findings from a number of studies have shown that women who have become involved with the criminal justice system have higher rates of school-aged pregnancies (prior to the age of 17 years) than the general population. We present data from a pilot study (n=30) of the use of the Self- Discovery Tapestry as a tool for exploring intergenerational risk and resiliency factors in the lives of adult women ex-offenders who became mothers. The Self- Discovery tapestry is an interactive visual life review instrument that provides a simple way for women to represent their life markers and continuous experiences over time. In this study we use the Tapestry as a tool for examining the occurrence, timing and duration of selected risk behaviors and resilient occupations in the lives of women ex-offenders who have become mothers versus those women who did not.

In this paper, we discuss past research on school-aged pregnancies and integrate it with work on women ex-offenders as mothers. We explore the value of the Tapestry as a datagathering approach for studying intergenerational patterns (mother’s childhood and children’s childhood experiences) of risk and resiliency factors, and examine the extent to which specific maternal risk and resiliency factors predict school-aged pregnancies and whether the same factors present in the mother’s childhood appear in that of her children. We focus on a particular resiliency factor—the presence of a natural adult mentor in the lives of the mothers. We conclude by discussing ways in which the Self-Discovery Tapestry can be used to facilitate additional research on intergenerational patterns of occupation among ex-offenders and other populations.

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Oct 30th, 8:30 AM Oct 30th, 10:00 AM

Women Ex-offenders as Mothers: Intergenerational Risk and Resiliency Factors in the Lives of Women Ex-offenders

About 70% of women incarcerated in the nation’s prisons are the mothers of one or more children under the age of 18 years. Past research shows that many of these children are at high risk for later criminal behavior, but our understanding of their early living arrangements is incomplete. In particular, findings from a number of studies have shown that women who have become involved with the criminal justice system have higher rates of school-aged pregnancies (prior to the age of 17 years) than the general population. We present data from a pilot study (n=30) of the use of the Self- Discovery Tapestry as a tool for exploring intergenerational risk and resiliency factors in the lives of adult women ex-offenders who became mothers. The Self- Discovery tapestry is an interactive visual life review instrument that provides a simple way for women to represent their life markers and continuous experiences over time. In this study we use the Tapestry as a tool for examining the occurrence, timing and duration of selected risk behaviors and resilient occupations in the lives of women ex-offenders who have become mothers versus those women who did not.

In this paper, we discuss past research on school-aged pregnancies and integrate it with work on women ex-offenders as mothers. We explore the value of the Tapestry as a datagathering approach for studying intergenerational patterns (mother’s childhood and children’s childhood experiences) of risk and resiliency factors, and examine the extent to which specific maternal risk and resiliency factors predict school-aged pregnancies and whether the same factors present in the mother’s childhood appear in that of her children. We focus on a particular resiliency factor—the presence of a natural adult mentor in the lives of the mothers. We conclude by discussing ways in which the Self-Discovery Tapestry can be used to facilitate additional research on intergenerational patterns of occupation among ex-offenders and other populations.