Massachusetts state has neglected the special needs of mothers locked up in prisons and correctional facilities, according to a study by the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. The center, which studied women incarcerated nationally and statewide, points to a lack of cooperation among state agencies that work with these families, reports the Boston Globe. As a result, the system lacks accurate data on the children of incarcerated women.
Depending on where she is being held, a female prisoner may not be allowed to touch her child. Visiting rooms may not be large enough to accommodate families, and families who live in distant parts of the state may have to travel hours to make visits since the only state prison for women is in Framingham, near Boston. The center advocates a state review of the problem; uniform guidelines for incarcerated mothers; family-friendly visiting rooms; additional parenting classes for incarcerated mothers, and programs that encourage mothers to interact with their children.