Perspectives of incarcerated mothers in Greece with respect to their minor children growing inside and outside of prison



The imprisonment of women implies a punishment with multiple recipients. The fate of incarcerated women’s offspring is a subject not really discussed in the Greek literature. The increase in the population of incarcerated women indicates that there is also a growing number of children experiencing the imprisonment of their mother. On the other hand, the small percentage of women compared to male inmates, results in the detainment of women in Greece, in two correctional facilities, either of which is usually bound to lie within significant distance from the place where the inmate’s family is established.  This article explores the perspectives of incarcerated women with respect to their offspring growing inside and outside of prison. A total number of 134 interview sessions were carried out, accounting for approximately 25% of women penitentiary inmates in Greece, during the year 2018. Women rearing their infants in prison, until the age of three according to Greek legislation, consider their children to be a source of strength, albeit at the same time expressing their concerns about the appropriateness of the prison environment as well as reporting a series of issues that affect the maternal role. Regarding their children growing outside of prison, the mother’s imprisonment is a condition of vulnerability for minor children which is exacerbated by the difficulties stemming from parenting within a penitentiary context.