Prison mothers and children. Apg23: a testimony of a welcoming family home

This is the second time in about ten years that Maria Rossi, an invented name, is hosting a woman in her family home who has not yet finished paying her debt to justice, but who has a child with her. “It’s a tiring but beautiful experience,” he says

(Photo: ANSA / SIR)

At the end of May, the Chamber of Deputies approved a bill aimed at extending the protection of minors of parents covered by a custodial measure by excluding the use of prisons and the strengthening of the so-called ICAM Institutions with reduced custody for prisoner mothers. The measure must now have the final green light in the Senate. There Pope John XXIII (Apg23) has for years been obliged to condemn the presence in prison of “children in prison” with their mothers and to promote alternative sentences of deprivation of liberty for mothers and children. The approval of the bill in the Chamber, the President of the Community, Pope John XXIII, commented to the SIR, Giovanni Paolo Ramonda“It is a first basic step because the dignity of the child is recognized, who together with his mother, who apparently committed the crime, can remain in the mother-child relationship, but outside the prison structure, accompanied on a path reception in family homes or communities that also has the competence to support a pedagogical process in the mother towards the child. ”And we have gathered the testimony of Maria Rossi – invented name, to protect the people it welcomes – who in late May reopened the doors of his family home belonging to the Pope John XXIII community, for a mother in prison with a child, after a first experience for a couple of years ago.

(Photo: ANSA / SIR)

“Our family consists of us parents, four children, three births and one in a foster family and an elderly disabled woman – says Sir Maria Rossi – and seven / eight years ago we received a woman from a Roman prison where she had found out The woman suffered from epileptic seizures and was reported to us, so we as a community worked hard to welcome her in. She was released from prison one month before the birth and first hosted in an adult community for three / four months. With us, mother and son have been two years. It was a very nice experience. She told us that she was innocent and that she was hit, as everyone in prison actually claims, but maybe it was true: she was an educated human being and could relate to others, discreetly, she gave a hand at home, accessible with the disabled and reliable elderly lady. The child was wonderful, and at that time I had a foster child of the same age: they grew up as brothers, they were the youngest in the house. “Maria is eager to point out:” This child lived in a family context rather than in prison, and his mother, under house arrest, managed to be treated, despite the fact that he had to follow all his prescriptions.Educated she was a good mother and not only with her own: even with regard to my children she knew how to sit down even in an educational form. We kept in touch for some time, last year he sent us the latest pictures of the baby. ”According to Rossi, “From this experience we can learn that it is right for people to serve their sentences, but it is counterproductive to leave them in prison under precarious conditions where they can gather more anger. In the experience of the family home, with all the proper limitations of the case, there is the opportunity to look at his life and his mistakes with more serenity, lend a hand by paying back his debt and use himself to help others, in a relationship . of mutual help, of being deprived of liberty, yes, but in an acceptable form, without accumulating frustration ”. Maria makes no secret of the fact: “Welcoming is always tiring, but it’s worth it, it’s pushed us as a family to open up”.

(Photo: ANSA / SIR)

After this first experience, the Rossi family opened the doors again for a woman, this time with a two-year-old son, at the end of May, just as the chamber approved the bill “Protecting the relationship between incarcerated mothers and minor children”. “On several occasions, he has already served thirteen years in prison. She has a very difficult history behind her, with so many ailments experienced on her skin since she was quite young, also due to the violence. The child was born during a period when he was not in prison and was placed with a relative for a period. Then the lady asked to be reunited with her son and was transferred to an ICAM. “Maria confides:” When she came to us, the effect was not easy because she made comparisons between the family home and ICAM, where there are rooms, such as playrooms , and sometimes designed specifically for the little ones, but I explained to her that here the child will grow up in a family where people try to love each other. And the games for the child are admittedly not in a special room, but in the same room that he shares with his son. Then it gradually opened up and said that on her own initiative she did not go to this playroom because the mothers often quarreled with each other. Here Rossi repeats, “Instead, it is possible to raise a child who has no guilt in a family and protective context. The child can go to the beach or shop, have a normal life ”. Now Maria concludes, “The woman tries to relate to us, lend a hand if, for example, I’m not home, she makes lunch, she helps me clean up. She is an appropriate and respectful mother to her son “. It will be a short welcome because it will soon finish serving its sentence, but it will allow “to enjoy a normal, peaceful life”.

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