The experiences of black mothers of incarcerated children: with a focus on their sons

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The thesis for this study is that structural racism within the U.S. criminal system causes Black mothers to assume the emotional work of caring for incarcerated sons. This project was

The thesis for this study is that structural racism within the U.S. criminal system causes Black mothers to assume the emotional work of caring for incarcerated sons. This project was designed using an interpretive approach that employed a combination of qualitative and auto-ethnographic methods, drawing on grounded theory principle. Six interviews were conducted with mothers in order to gain in-depth insight into their lived experiences. An auto-ethnographic method was used to analyze the author’s own personal experiences as a family member of the incarcerated in dialogue with the experiences of the broader research population. Studies on the key finding of the psycho-social impacts on mothers with incarcerated sons have explored the relationship between the mental depression of mothers and their son’s incarceration. They have found that financial challenges, dwindling social connections, lousy parenting evaluations, as well as the burden of care of the grandchildren of the incarcerated sons are some of the mediating factors of this relationship. A second key finding also showed that incarceration have had social-economic effects on the prisoner’s families. These families experience extreme financial hardship as a result of incarcerated loved ones. Another finding showed the unique coping strategies for mothers included assuming care taking responsibility, maintaining family relationships, and budget control. Finally, this study found that there are challenges to re-entry experienced by mothers with incarcerated sons when their released. Research findings and original contribution to scholarly knowledge uncovered that Black mothers of the incarcerated in addition to working the Second Shift, are experiencing the phenomena of what is coined to be the “Third Shift.”