Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship


Parenting from a County Jail: Parenting from Beyond the Bars. Issues in Mental Health Nursing

Document Type



The incarceration of mothers affects 1.7 million minor children who are at high risk of behavioral problems, emotional trauma, and future incarceration. The jail setting removes women from society for brief periods of time providing an opportunity to offer essential interventions for those who will be returning to the community, and possibly their children, rather quickly. Utilizing a pre- and post-test quasi-experimental design, we measured the self-reported treatment effects for female inmates, housed in a county jail in the New York metropolitan area, who completed an evidence-based parenting program. Program participants reported reduced depression, increased parental knowledge, and increased communication with their families and fellow inmates. The results indicated that alternative ways of measuring program success are needed – particularly for populations who present with long histories of criminal justice involvement and drug use.