Abandoning My Children When I Was Incarcerated

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever get over the grief and shame of abandoning my children for 18 years when I was incarcerated. When I went away, my son was 10 months old and my daughter was three years old. By the time I was released, they were young adults. My daughter had a child of her own. Continue reading

The Heart Break of a Child with a Parent in Prison

I know a young man named Carter who is 18 years old who lives in Chicago and his mother is in prison serving a LIFE sentence. She has been in prison most of his life. Even though he seems a little melancholy much of the time, for the most part he is a well-rounded individual. Carter doesn’t fit the stereotype of a child with a parent in prison. Continue reading

Children with Incarcerated Mothers: Remembering Them

Yolanda Adams has a song I love called What About the Children? “Remember when we were children…” she sings. I love that song. It always makes me think about the hundreds of thousands of children (including my own) who have incarcerated mothers, or mothers who have been formerly incarcerated. It gives me hope that someone, maybe for a moment, will remember them. Continue reading

Rebuilding Bonds After Incarceration: Things Are Nothing Like We Imagined They Would Be

My daughter was three years old when I became incarcerated. By the time I was released she was 21 years old. I think we both had illusions about how things would be when I came home. I thought I would be spending all of my spare time with my children. I thought I would be babysitting my grandchildren and maybe even living with my children. I thought we would get to know one another and build a bond for once in our lives. To my surprise I Continue reading

I Thought I Could Help My Daughter From Inside Prison, But I Could Not

When I was incarcerated I sought to help guide my children in any way that I could through letters, phone calls and visits. More than anything I wanted them to know that they were loved. When I came home I thought things would be different. I thought our relationships would be stronger. It seems that my lack of parenting and social skills has impeded my relationships with my children. It seems that I have not been able to measure up and be the mother I thought I could be. Seeking to find a balance between rebuilding my life and rebuilding my relationships has proven to be the single greatest challenge for me after returning from 18 years of incarceration. Not finding a job, being on parole, or Continue reading

While I Was In Prison, My Daughter Was in Hell

I went to prison when I was 19 years old. My daughter was left alone to practically raise herself in the same environment that almost destroyed me. I survived only because prison saved me. Women are the fastest growing group of people who are becoming incarcerated. In most cases these women are single parents and therefore, the primary care givers of their children. Once they are imprisoned their children are almost destined to a life of depression, crime, drugs and/or violence. I asked my daughter to write about life growing up in the turbulent streets of S.E., D.C. the progeny of a mom who was a “Menace to Society.” She writes: Continue reading