Prison on mother’s day- the busiest place on earth. Certainly not the happiest, but the busiest. Mother’s day is the number one day for visitors in a women’s prison. You see it all. From kids who have not seen their mom’s in a year or more, to every baby daddy on earth trying to do the right thing even if just for a moment.
Mother’s day is also the hardest day if you are in prison and a mom. For many it is the only day of the year they allow themselves to be sad or even remorseful. People in prison all use different coping strategies to deal with the loss, anger and isolation of their choices. When I was in a Federal Prison camp for mother’s day, it seemed like the only day when everyone got along with each other, or at least tried. In fact, I saw more compassion and empathy in prison on mother’s day than I do on the outside sometimes. It is the ultimate reality check when you find yourself in prison on mother’s day.
I was lucky enough to have my family and my children visit me often. But, for those who don’t, here are some resources. Prisoners with Children is a wonderful organization and has programs to help families. The Girl Scouts also has a program to help children visit their parents as does Get On The Bus. As hard as it may seem to understand, it is only through programs like these that we can stop the cycle and begin the healing.
As I say often, families are the forgotten consequences of crime. We can’t ignore that the best way for a successful re-entry back to society is through the quality of family relationships. The trend is for prisons to encourage visits and family contact. I not only agree but do whatever I can to raise awareness to this issue. The stigma of an incarcerated parent is a heavy one, yet with the proper tools and understanding, this burden can be dealt with.
Support these and other programs and always remember that change is possible with hard work.
To everyone, Happy Mother’s Day and may you find peace and freedom in the future.
Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, insider and family legal coach. She is available for private consultation on how to prepare for a successful incarceration, probation and re-entry. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from Today, CBS Early Show, Fox News and Nancy Grace. She is a weekly featured guest in the syndicated America Now radio program. She may be reached at email@example.com.