In North Carolina, more than 2000 children endure the greatest trauma a child can suffer––the loss of their mother.
Although the mothers of these children are alive, they are incarcerated for committing a crime. The children are also victims, even though they have committed no crime.
These children do not always understand the difference between incarceration and abandonment; they often become angry, depressed, fearful, and confused. They may develop academic, social, and emotional problems. Children of incarcerated parents are seven times more likely to be involved in delinquent activity and other negative behaviors and they are five times more likely to become incarcerated themselves.
The children of women incarcerated at NCCIW often live with relatives, such as grandparents, aunts, sisters, and fathers. The caregivers usually do not qualify for financial assistance because they are caring for related children. Many of these families are living on fixed or small incomes and cannot afford the additional expense of travel to Raleigh for the children to see their mothers. In addition, the children who are living in North Carolina live an average of 125 miles away from Raleigh. Some children live with relatives or friends in other states who cannot afford the cost of travel and lodging to bring the children for visits.
Over half of all inmate mothers never have a visit with their children while they are incarcerated.