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The Mothers Project

Filed under: General — Ministry of Men's Affairs @ 11:15 am Sun 15th April 2018

The Mothers Project: connecting women in prison with their kids

People’s right probably needs to be respected to provide support for whatever particular group they wish to. Others, especially men, perhaps could set up a similar support system to help male inmates locate and reconnect with their children, including help to understand Family Court documents and to participate to the full extent of their rights in processes concerning their children.

But are there ethical problems with the Mothers Project?

Firstly, is it acceptable to provide a service to incarcerated offenders on the basis of their gender? If so, then would the authorities tolerate a similar support service only for men, or white people, or any other particular group?

The rhetoric from the Mothers Project talks about how children benefit from having imprisoned mothers in their lives. Fair enough, but providing a service exclusively to mothers and talking about maternal importance without any hint of reference to fathers implies that fathers don’t matter.

Secondly, to what extent does the Mothers Project function as part of the war against men, in this case encouraging mothers to use the Family Court against the fathers of their children? Those fathers are often doing their best to parent their children while the mothers are in prison, and often trying to protect the children from confusion and hurt associated with their mothers’ behaviour and/or from the mothers’ criminal, antisocial attitudes. The rhetoric from the project leaders shows how much they seek to shift any blame away from female criminals for their offending, and there does seem to be a feminist crusade mentality underlying this.

Thirdly, is it acceptable for a service to choose its volunteers on sexist grounds? Only female lawyers are accepted as volunteers.

Fourth, would the prison authorities provide the same level of support to a service aimed exlusively at men in male prisons?

Fifth, to what extent is this a marketing exercise for lawyers? The volunteers are said to refer women on to legal aid lawyers to pursue Family Court action. Although their web site states that most of the volunteers are not Family Court lawyers, this means that some unspecified number are and there is no mention that family lawyers cannot be volunteers. So some of the Family Court lawyer volunteers are being sent clients by other Family Court lawyer volunteers, a cosy little income generator. Anyway, regardless of the legal field of the volunteers, they are sending new clients to their sisters in family law.

What do others think?


  1. Well well well well well well and then oh well…

    Good initiative in its intent.

    Questions raised are of importance but most relevant should actually be to make a sound study of how this contact is affecting these children or the parenting of those who care for them.

    It is an obvious fact that this can be open to abuse whereby certain inmates use it as a platform not to reduce offending but rather to shorten their stint under the pretense that they are mothers and care about their children whereby the fact may be that the children are only seen as a vehicle and a way to survive (WINZ CHILD SUPPORT ) and as a basis to negotiate shorter jail terms.

    And further could be used to drag more men by the balls to courts whereby they are tricked into surrendering their manhood and fatherhood to these same people supported and empowered to do just that and whom clearly may not be sane or mentally healthy enough to be accountable or to understand the consequences of their own actions on their progeny.

    This project may yield tremendous positive results but what of the real concerns that landed these people in jail (substance abuse – mental health issues – violence). You might be shocked to find that at lest 76% of these inmates landed there for drinking, drug use and violent behavior either on their partners or on these same children – after they were released on bail.

    AND What of the environment they return into? What has changed there?

    And have they made any study of the effect of re-traumatizing these same children?

    Nonetheless. Rhetorical questions such as

    Fourth, would the prison authorities provide the same level of support to a service aimed exclusively at men in male prisons?

    are rather irrelevant and seem to only focus on the fact that at least women are there trying to help other women.

    And therefore if poster does want an answer, one must be willing to put the energy out there and see how men can be helped too.

    Comment by JustCurious — Mon 16th April 2018 @ 8:27 am

  2. Ideally before they ever hit the family courts and or before they land in jail.

    Comment by JustCurious — Mon 16th April 2018 @ 8:32 am

  3. I seems that if the mother is in jail, it’s a mistake.
    The innocent is in jail.
    The cops meant to charge the father but failed to inquire about anything concerning the offense including the spelling of “man”. Thus the police spelling was “woman” so it was all just a mistake. The mother did nothing wrong at all. On the basis that they thought they were pursuing a “man” she was lucky not to be shot and killed by some pimply faced kiddy cop with a glock, an ego and not an ounce of life experience beyond his black gloves and air conditioned tax payer funded car.

    Comment by Brad — Tue 17th April 2018 @ 2:38 am

  4. Doing anything to help inmates maintain connections in the community is wonderful work.
    Over half of men going inside loose their intimate relationships during a sentence and many (probably 40% plus) loose ALL contact with their children as well.
    Maintaining relationships and connections in the community is also hugely important to reduce re-offending rates. When guys (and women) have family to return to they have an incentive to go straight(er).
    Corrections are doing some good work in Ngawha and Invercargill jails in supporting men and their families. Much room for improvement everywhere else.

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Mon 23rd April 2018 @ 3:17 pm

  5. There was no text to link to.

    Comment by JustCurious — Tue 24th April 2018 @ 10:02 am

  6. strange –
    trying again linking to article

    Comment by JustCurious — Tue 24th April 2018 @ 10:04 am

  7. @4 I recall one father describing a protection order as a social prison, in the context of its affect on respondents.

    A comparison between numbers of severed relationships, Family Court v Corrections might be interesting and whether both are involved in cases.

    I’ve also seen cases where CYF are the barrier for their own valid or invalid reasons.

    Comment by Downunder — Tue 24th April 2018 @ 12:08 pm

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