Prison is a challenging place for most women but this emotional space is magnified when it is a mother who is incarcerated. The maternal experience for mothers in prison is often at best disrupted, at worst destroyed, by the location. This paper considers how maternal emotions and the maternal role are assembled and challenged through carceral space, and more specifically, how mothers themselves assimilate this experience whilst navigating motherhood post incarceration. The data presented is based on twenty recorded in-depth individual interviews with released mothers across England andWales. The research findings highlight the significant emotional harm and turmoil felt by mothers themselves and on mother-child relationships, experienced during incarceration and long after their release.
Furthermore, the findings emphasise the significance and value of compassionate and thoughtful management of carceral space in relation to mothering emotions. The paper concludes with reflections on the findings of the study and recommendations for future research and practice.