When most people think of prisoners, they think of men. Yet women are the fastest growing prison population. Perhaps more surprising, some 75% of women behind bars are mothers. Each year these mothers leave behind 350,000 children under the age of 18. More than half of mothers in state prisons never see their children during their incarceration.
In "The War on the Family," noted social rights activist Renny Golden shows that as a direct result of President Ronald Reagan's administration's War On Drugs campaign, the rates of women in prison have skyrocketed, leading to the unintended destruction of the family. Through her interviews inside prisons across the country, Golden identifies the risks and needs of these imprisoned mothers and their children, the obstacles communities face in successfully helping these families, and the implications current judicial policies--like mandatory sentencing and lack of drug treatment programs--pose for women, children, families, and the communities in which we live.
"In her book War on the Family Mothers in Prison and the Families They Leave Behind, Renny Golden brings to life the pains of imprisonment that incarcerated mothers and their children experience...By sharing the stories of incarcerated mothers and their children in two geographical regions, Golden offers an insightful picture of this typically forgotten group...the author examines the long-term impact of incarceration on the children of incarcerated parents, which few studies have done." -- Jennifer Cobbina, Criminal Justice Review, March 2008