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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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Parenting Roles And Experiences Of Abuse In Women Offenders: Review Of The Offender Intake Assessments

Childcare responsibilities prior to incarceration

Table 4 shows women's childcare responsibilities and the living arrangements of their children prior to incarceration. The difference between the proportion of women who were primary careproviders for their children in the two studies was not statistically significant [(_2 (1, N = 395) = 2.97, n.s.)]. In both studies, over half of the women with children had primary responsibility for their children prior to incarceration. Results from the Survey indicate that before incarceration, 62.4% of women with children lived full-time with at least one of their children either as a single parent or with a partner (children's father), whereas in the OIAs Review, the figure was 52.1%.

Table 4

Children's Living Arrangements Prior to Mothers' Incarcerationa


Survey of FSW


OIAs Review







All grown up & live apart





At least one with her





With her and father





With ex-husband/common lawc





With grandparents, etc.





With friend




( .7)

All in care/adopted out





Note. In the OIAs Review, some women may be represented more than once in certain categories, since childcare arrangements differed for some of their children. For that reason percentages do not sum to 100.

a In addition to the living arrangements listed in the Survey other arrangements were indicated in the OIA Review including: one or more lived with their relatives (17), in foster home/CAS (33), at least one adopted out at early age (28)

b In the case of 39 women, all information regarding their children was missing.

c In OIAs Review ex-husband/common law refers to the child's father. This was not specified in the Survey.

Survey results showed that out of those women who were primary careproviders for their child(ren) prior to incarceration (68 women), most mothers were single parents (58 women, or 85.3%), whereas a smaller number of women lived with their child(ren) and their child's father (10 women, or 14.7%). Compared to the Survey, in the OIAs Review, out of all the women who were primary careproviders for their children (149), a smaller proportion were sole parents (99 women, or 66.4%), whereas proportionally more women were living with their child(ren) and the child(ren)'s father (50 women, or, 33.5%). These differences were statistically significant [(_2 (1, N = 217) = 7.38, p> .01)], indicating that in the present study, a greater proportion of women who were primary careproviders for their children prior to incarceration lived with their child and partner (child's father), rather than as single parents.