The number of incarcerated women in the United States has more than doubled in the last two decades, and the number of incarcerated women with children increased by more than 87 percent during that time (Smyth, 2012). This trend toward mass incarceration of mothers has harmful implications for their children because their primary caregiver has been removed from them. Children of incarcerated mothers are often referred to as hidden victims because they bear the burden of a crime they didn't commit. This puts these children among the most at-risk populations in the United States.
Smyth, J. (2012). Dual punishment: Incarcerated mothers and their children. Columbia Social Work Review, 3, 33–45