Invisible Mothers

Unseen Yet Hypervisible after Incarceration

Drawing on interviews conducted throughout New York City, Black feminist criminologist Janet Garcia-Hallett shares the traditionally silenced voices of formerly incarcerated mothers of color and exposes the difficult realities they face when reentering the community and navigating motherhood. Patriarchy, misogyny, and systemic racism marginalize and criminalize these mothers, pushing them into the grasp of penal control and forcing them to live in a state of disempowerment and hypersurveillance after imprisonment.

Armed with critical insight, Invisible Mothers demonstrates the paradox of visibility: social institutions treat mothers of color as invisible by restricting them from equal opportunities, and simultaneously as hypervisible by penalizing them for the ways they survive their marginalization. This thoughtful book reveals and contests their marginalization and highlights how mothers of color perform motherwork on their own terms.

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Praise for "Invisible Mothers"

"This book is filled with the voices and understandings of marginalized mothers, 

and we come to see how their invisibility and hypervisibility 

delineate their lives and their experiences as mothers after incarceration."

Michelle Hughes Miller, coeditor of Bad Mothers

"An extremely valuable window into a particularly marginalized group, 

one that is often left out of criminal justice–reform conversations. 

Few books examine criminalized women's experiences with such a wide-angle lens."

Allison McKim, author of Addicted to Rehab

"With rich, powerful narratives and analysis, 

Invisible Mothers exposes the mechanisms of oppression and hypersurveillance 

that produce unrelenting obstacles for formerly incarcerated 

African American, West Indian, and Latina mothers."

Hillary Potter, author of Intersectionality and Criminology

Book Awards and Recognitions

"Criminal Justice Professor's New Book Brings Visibility to 'Invisible Mothers'"

"Cheshire Scholar's Book Reveals Nation's Invisible Mothers"

"Book Offers Voice to 'Invisible Mothers'"

"Dr. Janet Garcia-Hallett Explores Stories of Minorities in Prison System"

"Q&A with Janet Garcia-Hallett, author of Invisible Mothers"

by Dr. Michalsen

(PDF also available upon request)

by Dr. Umamaheswar

(PDF also available upon request)

by Dr. Smoyer

(PDF also available upon request)

by Dr. Umeh

(PDF also available upon request)