THE ROMANIAN WIVES OF PRISONERS
Keywords:Prisoners ‘wives, marital relations, prisoners, wellbeing, imprisonment
AbstractRecent studies show that more than 10.1 million people are incarcerated throughout the world, the prison population having increased worldwide in 78 percent of the countries from 2009 to 2011 (Walmsley 2011). In Romania, the National Prison Administration reported in 2014 a total of 30156 prisoners of which 28577 were over 22 years of age. These figures are an indication that many of the imprisoned people have families and partners on the outside. Prisoners’ wives represent a topic that has been little approached in the literature. This study explores the impact of imprisonment on marital relationships and on the wellbeing of Romanian wives of prisoners by collecting information from thirteen women through in depth interviews. The findings suggest that the wives of prisoners are affected not just by the stigmatizing role of being the wife of an inmate, but mostly by the ignorance of their partners with respect to the feelings and hardships the women experience while being on the outside.
Arditti, J.A. (2012). Parental Incarceration and the Family. Psychological and Social Effects of Imprisonment on Children, Parents, and Caregivers, New York University Press.
Arditti, J.A. (2003). Locked Doors and Glass Walls: Family Visiting at a Local Jail, Journal of Loss and Trauma: International Perspectives on Stress and Coping, 8(2), 115-138.
Codd, H. (2007). Prisoners’ Families and Resettlement: A Critical Analysis, The Howard Journal, 46(3), 255-263.
Codd, H. (2008). In the Shadow of Prison: Families, Imprisonment and Criminal Justice, Willan Publishing, Oregon, USA.
Comfort, M., Grinstead, O., McCartney, K., Bourgois, P., Knight, K. (2005). “You Can’t Do Nothing in This Damn Place”: Sex and Intimacy Among Couples With an Incarcerated Male Partner, The Journal of Sex Research, 42(1), 3-12.
Crowell, J., Owens, G. (1998). Manual for The Current Relationship Interview And Scoring System. Version 4. Retrieved (current date) from
Dallaire, D.H., Ciccone, A., Wilson, L.C. (2010). Teachers’ experiences with and expectations of children with incarcerated parents. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 31, 281-290.
Fishman, L.T. (1990). Women at the Wall. A Study of Prisoners’ Wives Doing Time on the Outside. State University of New York Press, Albany.
Geller, A., Garfinkel, I., Western, B. (2011). Paternal Incarceration and Support for Children in Fragile Families, Demography, 48, 25-47.
Hoffman Fishman, S. (1981). Losing a Loved One to Incarceration: The Effect of Imprisonment on Family Members, The Personnel and Guidance Journal, 372-378.
Johnston, D. (2012). Services for Children of Incarcerated Parents. Family Court Review, 50(1), 91-105.
Lowenstein, A. (1984). Coping with Stress: The Case of Prisoners’ Wives, Journal of Marriage and Family, 46(3), 699-708.
Lowenstein, A. (1986). Temporary Single Parenthood – The Case of Prisoners’ Families, Family Relations, 35(1), 79-85.
Murray, J., Farrington, D.P. (2005). Parental imprisonment: effects on boys’ antisocial behavior and delinquency through the life course. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46(12), 1269-1278.
Murray, J., Farrington, D.P. (2006). Evidence-based programs for children of prisoners. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 5(4), 721-736.
Murray, J. (2008). The cycle of punishment: social exclusion of prisoners and their children. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 7(1), 55-81.
Murray, J., Murray, L. (2010). Parental incarceration, attachment and child psycho-pathology, Attachment and Human Development, 12(4), 289-309, DOI: 10.1080/ 14751790903416889.
Murray, J., Farrington, D.P., Sekol, I. (2012). Children’s Antisocial Behaviour, Mental Health, Drug Use, and Educational Performance after Parental Incarceration: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Psychological Bulletin. Advance online publication. DOI: 10.1037/a0026407.
Parke, R.D. (2003). Development in the Family, Annual Review of Psychology, 55, 365-399, DOI: 10.1146/annurev.psych.55.090902.141528.
Phillips, S.D., Burns, B.J., Wagner, H.R., Kramer, T.L., Robbins, J.M. (2002). Parental Incarceration among Adolescents Receiving Mental Health Services. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 11(4), 385-399.
Phillips, S.D., Erkanli, A., Keeler, G.P., Costello, E.J., Angold, A. (2006). Disentangling the risks: parent criminal justice involvement and children’s exposure to family risks. Criminology and Public Policy, 5(4), 677-702.
Sampson, R.J., Laub, J.H. (1997). A Life-Course Theory of Cumulative Disadvantage and the Stability of Delinquency. In Developmental Theories of Crime and Delinquency, Terrence P. Thornberry, New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers.
Sharratt, K., Foca, L., Gavriluta, C., Jones, A., Asiminei, R. (2015). Dimensionality and Construct Validity of the Romanian Self-Report Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Romanian Journal of Applied Psychology, 16(2). West University of Timisoara
Shaw, R. (1991). Imprisoned fathers and the orphans of justice. In Prisoners’ Children: What Are the Issues? Routledge, London.
Shlafer, R.J, Poehlmann, J. (2010). Attachment and caregiving relationships in families affected by parental incarceration. Attachment and Human Development, 12(4), 395-415.
Tasca, M., Turanovic, J.J., White, C., Rodriguez, N. (2014). Prisoners’ Assessments of Mental Health Problems among Their Children. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 58(2), 154-173.
Theobald, D., Farrington, D. P. (2012). The effects of marital breakdown on offending: results from a prospective longitudinal survey of males. Psychology, Crime and Law, 19(4), 391-408.
Turanovic, J.J., Rodriguez, N., Pratt, T. (2012). The Collateral Consequences of Incarceration Revisited: A Qualitative Analysis of the Effects on Caregivers of Children of Incarcerated Parents. Criminology, 50(4), 913-959.
Walmsley, R. (2011). World Prison Population (ninth edition). International Centre for Prison Studies, University of Essex.
Wakefield, S., Wildeman, C. (2011). Mass imprisonment and racial disparities in childhood behavioral problems. American Society of Criminology, 10(3), 793-817.
Western, B. (2007). Punishment and Inequality in America, Russell Sage Foundation, New York.
Wildeman, C., Western, B. (2010). Incarceration in Fragile Families. The Future of Children, 20(2), 157-177.
Wildeman, C., Schnittker, J., Turney, K. (2012). Despair by Association? The Mental Health of Mothers of Children by Recently Incarcerated Fathers, American Sociology Review, 77, 216-243.