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Keeping Incarcerated Mothers and Their Daughters Together: Girl Scouts Beyond Bars

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 1995
12 pages
Publication Series
Girl Scouts Beyond Bars involves inmate mothers in their daughters' lives through a unique partnership between a youth services organization and State and local corrections departments.
Begun as a National Institute of Justice demonstration project in November 1992, Girl Scouts Beyond Bars programs have been implemented in Maryland, Florida, Ohio, and Arizona. The pilot program in Maryland began in 1992 at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women. More than 30 girls now visit their mothers two Saturdays each month. On alternate Saturdays, the girls attend meetings at a community church. Before this program started, many of these girls rarely visited their incarcerated mothers. Florida's program began at the Jefferson Correctional Institution near Tallahassee in early 1994, and a second program soon followed in Fort Lauderdale. The program includes formal parenting instruction and transitional services for the mothers, as well as monitoring of the children's school performance and collaboration with mental-health-care providers. Ohio's program was launched in a prerelease center in Columbus. When the Girl Scout Council expanded the program to the Ohio Reformatory for Women in 1994, Ohio became the first to connect the in-prison program with the transition to home. Maricopa County (Arizona) is the first jail site in the Nation to form a Girl Scouts Beyond Bars partnership. Parents Anonymous and Big Brothers/Big Sisters have also joined the effort. Girl Scout Councils in four other States have also begun programs with their corrections partners. Although the partnership has shown its ability to increase mother-daughter visitation time, the long- term effect of breaking the cycle of criminal behavior will require a more comprehensive approach by the correctional institution, the Girl Scout Council, and the mothers involved. The program can be used as a model to involve more youth service organizations in crime prevention. 26 notes

Date Published: October 1, 1995