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Mothering, Crime and Incarceration
The Journal of Contemporary Ethnography (2003)
  • Kathleen J. Ferraro, Arizona State University
  • Angela M. Moe, Western Michigan University
This article examines the relationships between mothering, crime, and incarceration through the narratives of thirty women incarcerated in a southwestern county jail. The responsibilities of child care, combined with the burdens of economic marginality and domestic violence, led some women to choose economic crimes or drug dealing as an alternative to hunger and homelessness. Other women, arrested for drug- or alcohol-related crimes, related their offenses to the psychological pain and despair resulting from loss of custody of their children. Many women were incarcerated for minor probation violations that often related to the conflict between work, child care, and probation requirements. For all women with children, mothering represented both the burdens of an unequal sexual division of labor and opportunities for resistance to marginalization and hopelessness.
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Publisher Statement
Article originally published in the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. Post-print of article is posted here with permission of publisher.
Citation Information
Kathleen J. Ferraro and Angela M. Moe. "Mothering, Crime and Incarceration" The Journal of Contemporary Ethnography Vol. 32 Iss. 1 (2003)
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