Stigma, Outsider Status and Mothers in Prison. By: Morgan, Julia and Leeson, Caroline. 2024. Journal of Family Issues. Vol. 45 Issue 4, p852-872.

Drawing on Elias’s work on established-outsider figurations, stigmatisation and the civilising process, this study explores the narratives of women, who are mothers of children under the age of 18 years old, in one female prison in England, United Kingdom. We conducted 31 in-depth interviews as well as three focus groups with 26 different women, exploring their experiences of being an imprisoned mother as well as staying in contact with their children from prison. Moreover, we interviewed 15 members of staff. Ourfindings highlight the stigmatised ‘outsider’ nature that is ascribed to mothers in prison which is reinforced by the prison environment and figurations between mothers and prison staff. By highlighting the stigmatised and outsider positioning of mothers in prison, this research has significance for practice and policy. Improving support for imprisoned mothers and the development of non-stigmatising, more inclusive, compassionate institutions and compassionate responses are thus required.