For the challenged women; parenting and fragmented family dynamics, the stress of financial hardship has been linked with psychological distress, negative parenting behaviors, and poor childhood outcomes and increased likelihood of sibling degradation. Challenged parenthood due to incarceration is a role taken on involuntarily, and anger and resentment about this new situation may weaken commitment to the imprisoned partner as a result. Parenting also may become more challenging because many children whose parents are imprisoned show elevated rates of internalizing and externalizing problems. Many women with an incarcerated family member see a reduction in available social support to cope with the stress associated with their family members imprisonment as friends and family withdraw because of the associated stigma and discrimination; In addition, incarceration is marked as an ambiguous loss because the remaining family member or other family member’s financial loss is not publicly recognized and places stress on the mourned or socially effected remaining community. This can lead to exacerbated grief and the phenomenon of being a woman of the incarcerated; and as a result Women often became the major decision maker and head of the household, although some women try to mitigate these changes by delegating decisions to others who were not completed vested in the family unit. i.e. friends, neighbors etc… and many cases results inrelapse in to their previous negative behavior.
Because of this woman, men and siblings experience feelings of intense anger, attachment issues, remorse, coping and resentment. But with a support system like the services we provide at WSW many women and family members who have other family members incarcerated without the possibility of release as an opportunity to lead a full and encompassing life. But for many of us when circumstances impacted our lives there were no such organization or groups that were available to help us cope. This is why we want to form this organization, to give other women in our situation Hope and opportunity to navigate the negative impact that permanent incarnation causes to the family unit. We are trying to create choices for the entire family unit of incarcerated family members starting with the women.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. My loved one was just sentence to life in prison and I have no one who understands me and wants to take time to help me.
A. Using supportive coaching and supportive interventions such as showing empathy, reflective listening and validating her thoughts and feelings. I would then respond by “ I can’t or can imagine what you are going through at this moment. I can assure you with WSW we have programs that are designed for different stages of what a family member goes through when this happens to our loved ones. With the program we have peer supports who are on this journey and would like to walk it with you. I would then use self-disclosure to build rapport with the family member and instill hope and encouragement until next interaction.
Q. I am in recovery for substance abuse but don’t have a loved one in prison, can I still participate?
A. Yes, our program has collaborative partners; certified drug and alcohol counselors that facilitate programs that teach coping skills to maintain recovery and a socialization program.
Q. There is a mentor program that is faith base, do I have to get involved, I don’t believe in God?
A. Our mentor program is faith base and optional. We believe in recovery having a spiritual foundation is crucial and is why we offer the program.
Q. What are the benefits of joining or participating in the program?
A. The benefits of the program are learning to maintain wellness by learning and engaging in self-care and equipping women with coping skills to utilize in daily functioning. With a sisterhood of women who are on the same journey there is opportunity to network with others that make the visiting process smoother, such as carpool pals and sharing finances to name a few. There are also social gatherings that we have to connect long lasting friendships. There are certificates and awards available by completing training's that are beneficial in the program and employment. Community service programs and court support.