Mothering Under Community Criminal Justice Supervision in the USA

  • D. R. Gina Sissoko
  • Lorie S. GoshinEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology book series (PSIPP)


The majority of women under criminal justice (CJ) supervision in the United States are in the community, not in prisons or jails. Most of them are mothers of minor children. Like incarcerated women, those under community supervision experience multiple health disparities relative to women without justice involvement. These include higher rates of mental illness, substance dependence, and trauma exposure, all of which have intergenerational consequences. They are also disproportionately women of colour living in poverty. A growing scientific literature describes incarcerated mothers and their children, and researchers are developing tailored interventions for this population. And yet, little has been written about community-supervised mothers, their children, the maternal-child relationship or their unique parenting challenges. Community supervision, as an alternative to incarceration, may keep women physically closer to their children, but can also hinder parenting and has not historically included parenting supports. In this chapter, we review the broader literature on community supervision to determine its potential impact on women and their children, with an emphasis on the intersectional issues of race, class, mental and physical health, trauma and substance use. We conclude with research and policy recommendations to inform our approach to this population of families.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.John Jay College of Criminal JusticeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Hunter CollegeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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