Maintaining the mother child relationship within the Irish prison system: the practitioner perspective
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Sinead O'Malley & Carmel Devaney (2016) Maintaining the mother–child relationship within the Irish prison system: the practitioner perspective, Child Care in Practice, 22:1, 20-34, DOI: 10.1080/13575279.2015.1054786
There is a dearth of research on the experience of motherhood within the Irish prison system. This paper considers the specific issue of facilitating contact between incarcerated mothers and their children. It is based on a study which explores the views of practitioners working directly with mothers in prison on how the mother–child relationship is accommodated and supported. Data presented are based on eight one-to-one interviews with participants from within the prison system and with participants working in an external support agency. The research findings highlight examples of good practice within the prison system with a sense that participants endeavour to support this relationship whenever possible. Suggestions for improved practice and the associated resource needs are also discussed. Internationally there are many exemplars of supportive initiatives promoting relationships between incarcerated mothers and their children. Such models and the relevant research and literature are considered in this paper. The paper concludes with reflections on the findings of this study with reference to this literature.