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9 Feminist Criminology 3 (2014)

handle is hein.journals/femcrim9 and id is 1 raw text is: 


                                                               Feminist Criminology
                                                               2014, Vol 9(1) 3-23
Is  Motherhood            Important?                           TheAuthor(s)203
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Impri          ed    Women's                         sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav
                                                       DOI: 10.1177/1557085113504450
Maternal Experiences Before                                       fcx.sagepub.com

and During Confinement                                             OSAGE

and Their Postrelease


Sandra L. Barnes' and Ebonie Cunningham Stringer2

In recent years, sharp increases in the female prison population have landed more
mothers  behind bars. While the experiences of imprisoned  women   may differ
substantially from free mothers, studies suggest that motherhood is important for
many  imprisoned mothers. The  current study uses a sample of 210 imprisoned
mothers  and multivariate modeling to investigate how familial relationships before
and  during imprisonment and  mothers'  postrelease expectations influence the
salience of maternal identity. Findings suggest that regardless of demographic factors,
close mother-caregiver relationships, contact with family during imprisonment, and
expecting to have custody of children upon release positively impacts imprisoned
women's  mothering identities.

prison, women, mothers, identity, family

While feminists debate the contemporary features of the maternal role and identity,
motherhood has historically been viewed as a central feature of femininity. Receiving
social cues from dominant family models, many girls are socialized from a young age
to internalize conventional roles that present mothers as sensitive, ever-present nurtur-
ers, problem solvers, and teachers (Collins, 2000; O'Reilly, 2006). Women who
embrace and perform this role well often enjoy praise and enhanced social status. Given
the nature of gendered socialization and the associated social rewards, mothering can

'Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA
2Wingate University, Wingate, NC, USA
Corresponding Author:
Sandra L. Barnes, Department of Human and Organizational Development and the Divinity School
Peabody #90, 230 Appleton Place, Nashville, TN 37203-5721.
Email: sandra.l.barnes@Vanderbilt.Edu

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