Mothers project: maintaining critical relationships
Imprisoned mothers face a daily struggle and while I do not in anyway excuse or seek to justify what they have done, their children don’t deserve to be punished. Incarceration and the associated separation can have a detrimental impact on a mother – child relationship, partly because a mother grapples with fulfilling her role as mother. While mothers represent a relatively small proportion of our prison population, it is vital for the benefit of our families that we focus on maintaining meaningful contact and relationships.
The Mothers Project, led by a team of dedicated volunteer lawyers, aims to negate this impact. By supporting mothers to access their children, maintain the vital connection to them and advocate, where appropriate, for frequent visitation, we have the opportunity to foster attachment, reduce the likelihood of recidivism and assist with addressing some of the complex issues facing our next generation that come from having an incarcerated mother.
The Hui accompanied the Mothers Project volunteer lawyers on a recent visit to Arohata Prison and talked with some of the mothers there to find out how finding and staying connected to their children has made a significant difference.