Mothers’ Incarceration as a Threat to Children’s Development in South Wollo Zone: The case of Dessie Correctional Center, Ethiopia

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Yeshiwas Tigabu Alemineh

Abstract

This study was conducted at South Wollo Zone correctional center (Dessie City) aiming at examining the effects of mothers’ incarceration on children to assess the possible ways of interventions by government and nongovernment bodies. The study used cross sectional design using qualitative inquiry. To this end, samples were taken from women prisoners, relatively young children and office workers at the correctional center. The data were collected via interview and focus group discussions. Then, the collected data were analyzed in thematic techniques involving data categorization, organization and summarization. The finding shows that children, who are left at home are exposed to loneliness due to social exclusion, fear of vengeance, school termination, economic difficulties, family disorganization and dislocations. On the other hand, children who accompanied their incarcerated mothers were exposed to crime driven socialization, maladaptation, unclean and crowded living room, poor toilet and sanitation, little access to recreation center and absence of medical follow ups. However, there is no institutional intervention to mitigate problems of children left at home, This study concluded that children are directly vulnerable to women’s criminality and thus policies and strategies must be designed to reduce women criminality. Correctional centers should plan regarding the needs of children accompanying their mothers at prison cells. Government and nongovernment sectors ought to work to support susceptible children.

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