Thomas, Monica

Thomas, Monica
Start date:
October 2018
Research Topic:
Absent mothers: The subjective experiences of ‘Black’ female prisoners regarding the impact prison has on the maintenance of relationships with their children
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Alisa Stevens and Alyson Rees
Supervising school:
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

A vast body of research has highlighted the importance of prisoners maintaining positive social bonds with the outside world as it has been found to not only improve their experience whilst in prison but also reduces the likelihood of re-offending. Within this field of research emphasis has also been placed on the relationship between imprisoned mothers and their children. It has been found that the majority of mothers in prison are single mothers and were the main caregiver’s in their children’s life prior to imprisonment. Despite this, only half of mothers receive visits from their children whilst in prison. Prison therefore acts as a physical barrier that can potentially prevent and deconstruct the relationship between mother and child and this can have detrimental implications for both parities.

Although there is existing literature on the experiences of mothers imprisoned in the England and Wales Prison Service there is little consideration given to the racialised experiences of motherhood whilst imprisoned. To date there is little to no literature exploring who Black imprisoned mothers are and what they as a group have experienced and so this research attempts to fill this gap.

In summary, this thesis sets out to uncover the both gendered and racialised experience of parenting whilst imprisoned and how this particularity impacts Black women.