Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 92–101 | Cite as

Mothers Talk Back: Exploring the Experiences of Formerly Incarcerated Mothers

  • Shannon Cooper-SadloEmail author
  • Michael A. Mancini
  • Dixie D. Meyer
  • Jessica L. Chou
Original Paper


The experiences of formerly incarcerated mothers are rarely examined despite the sharp rise in female incarceration over the past 2 decades. This project used a transcendental phenomenological approach and in-depth interviews with 12 formerly incarcerated mothers as they reflected on their motherhood experiences before, during and after their incarceration. Mothers described how they struggled to negotiate their own stress, trauma, addiction, and shame, and offer insights for how service systems and professionals can help mothers reunify with their families and re-enter society. Clinical implications for systems of care, policy and practice are explored.


Mothers Substance use Incarceration Family re-unification 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social Work, College for Public Health and Social JusticeSaint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Family and Community Medicine, School of MedicineSaint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Counseling and Family Therapy, College of Nursing of Health ProfessionsDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.St. LouisUSA

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