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The New Jane Crow: Mass Incarceration and the Denied Maternity of Black Women

Race, Ethnicity and Law

ISBN: 978-1-78714-604-4, eISBN: 978-1-78714-603-7

Publication date: 25 May 2017



This chapter examines how the intersection of race, class, and gender impact the experiences of Black women and their children within a broader socio-historical context.


The epistemological framework of feminist criminology and the invisibility of Black women are used to draw an analysis on the American dominant ideology and culture that perpetuates the racial subjugation of Black women and the challenges they have faced throughout history as it relates to the mother-child dynamic and the ideals of Black motherhood.


By conceptually examining the antebellum, eugenics, and mass incarceration eras, our analysis demonstrated how the racial subjugation of Black women perpetuated the parental separation and the ability for Black women to mother their children and that these collective efforts, referred to as the New Jane Crow, disrupt the social synthesis of the black community and further emphasizes the need for more efforts to preserve the mother/child relationship.


Based on existing literature, there is a paucity of research studies that examine the effects of maternal incarceration and the impact it has on their children. As a part of a continuous project we intend to further the discourse and examine how race and gender intersect to impact the experiences of incarcerated Black women and their children through a socio-historical context.



Jones, C.A. and Seabrook, R.L. (2017), "The New Jane Crow: Mass Incarceration and the Denied Maternity of Black Women", Race, Ethnicity and Law (Sociology of Crime, Law and Deviance, Vol. 22), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 135-154.



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