On this page, we mention three ways on how a prison environment can affect the social development of a child. There is an ongoing debate around the world on whether the child of a convicted mother should bond with the mother in prison, or the child should stay out of the prison premises.

What the Law says

Section 20(1) of the Correctional Services Act 111 of 1998 (as amended by the Correctional Services Amendment Act 25 of 2008) states that children of the convicted mothers may accompany their mothers in prison up until the age of two years. The intention of this section is based on the needs of a child to bond with the mother immediately after birth. A newborn baby naturally benefits significantly by being close to the mother. Also, most mothers would greatly appreciate naturing their newborns from day one.

However, prison environments are not the most suitable environments to raise and nature a child in. The detrimental state of prisons may somewhat affect the social development of a child in many ways.

Three ways on how a prison environment can affect the social development of a child

Amongst many negative consequences of raising a child within the prison facilities due to its rigid state, below are some of the three ways:

  • absence of male role models
  • separation from the whole family: father, siblings, and grand parents.
  • lack of understanding of the real world outside prison

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