keeping mothers and children together

Mother & Child by Bev Draper  (Sorrento, Italy)

Mother & Child by Bev Draper
(Sorrento, Italy)

The latest endorsement for our soon-to-be-published book Hear Me, See Me: Incarcerated Women Write arrived this week.

It comes from Elizabeth Gaynes, J.D., executive director, of The Osborne Association in New York City. One of Osborne’s missions is to advocate for and develop alternatives to incarceration that respect the dignity of people and their capacity to change.

In particular, Osborne works to support and develop programs that keep mothers and their children together while a woman is serving her sentence.

..like JusticeHouse, a 45-bed program in Brooklyn announced this week that will allow carefully screened women with felonies to live with and continue to care for their children with supervision.

The participants will be visited several times a week by case managers, receive counseling about jobs, schools, and parenting. Some will be required to have treatment for drug addiction and mental illness.

The aim is to undergird and hopefully strengthen the mother-child relationship during this precarious time.  Continue reading

a mother’s strength, revisited

Last night, I sat in a circle with seven women inside Vermont’s women’s prison talking about the roots of Mother’s Day. I read Julia Ward Howe’s  “Mother’s Day Proclamation – 1870 (watch dramatic reading here.)

Portrait drawing of poet, anti-slavelry activi...

Drawing of poet, anti- slavelry activist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe (Wikipedia)

Most of us have no idea that Mother’s Day originated as a movement toward international peace. Reading Howe’s words today feels as immediate and relevant as if they had just been written. Sadly. And, on a more personal note, finding peace with mother – within and without –  continues for many women to be a lifelong struggle.

One of the prompts offered last light was to share a remembered scene of my mother, something learned that I want to take with me today.  Read JL’s moving story below. Continue reading