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The dramatic increase in the number of women in prison in this country is a result of changes in criminal justice policy that were intended to take a bite out of crime and wage a war on drugs The consequences of these policies for women is seldom mentioned and even less is heard about their impact on children According to the Department of Justice 764 of the women in State prisons are mothers compared to 596 of male prisoners who are fathers In most cases the children of incarcerated men live with their mothers before during and after their fathers incarceration Johnston nd When mothers are sent to prison their children are most likely to live with a grandparent or other relative 752 Consequently when mothers are sent to prison children are likely to experience greater disruption than when a father is imprisoned Harm Thompson 1995 found that the majority 84 of relatives caring for children during their mothers imprisonment experienced major changes in their lives Problems they encountered included finding child care lack of transportation for children to visit their mothers financial set-backs giving up jobs and relocating Similar findings are reported by Hungerford 1993 While trying to resolve these problems care givers must contend with their own feelings of anger guilt and fear about the mothers imprisonment The children that relatives take into their homes may be less than angelic Children who have been exposed to domestic violence substance abuse or child abuseneglect and separated from their mothers can exhibit behaviors that are difficult to manage Maintaining the relationship between children and their incarcerated mother can also be difficult This can drain minimal financial resources that are already being stretched - especially when relatives live at a great distance from the states womens prison AARPs Grandparent Information Center found that grandparents caring for their childrens children face many barriers when they seek help Mullen 1995 Other relatives face
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