Parenting Behind Bars: Woman Inmate Narrates Struggles of Raising Son while in Prison

Parenting Behind Bars: Woman Inmate Narrates Struggles of Raising Son while in Prison

  • Nancy Chepkoech is serving a jail term alongside her three-year-old son; she was two weeks pregnant when she was arrested
  • She says she sometimes feels for her son's psychological wellbeing
  • She, however, clarified she gave birth to him safely in a hospital

Nancy Chepkoech was only two months pregnant when she was convicted of murder in February 2013.

Women inmates at the Langata Women Maximum Security Prison.
Women inmates recount the challenges faced as moms behind bars. Photo: Langata Women Maximum Security Prison.
Source: UGC

Chepokoech's worry was how she was going to handle labour and delivery while in prison.

Pleading for probation

She even pleaded with the judge to put her on probation.

Download YEN's news app on Google Play now and stay up-to-date with all major Ghana news

“I pleaded with the judge to put me on probation because I was worried about challenges that awaited me at the cells, but surprisingly, I was received well and gave birth safely in a hospital,” Chepkoech told The Standard , adding motherhood was not as problematic as she had thought.

Chepkoech, however, noted that there are instances of psychological distress on her son.

"There are times my son asks whether all children at the centre are his siblings and I fail to respond because I do not want him to know I am serving a jail sentence. This, I fear, might affect his growth," she said.

At the prison, Chepkoech wakes up at 6 am and prepares her son for school. She also ensures that her son has breakfast from the prisons facility.

According to The African Early Childhood Network data, there are at least 200 children aged below four, who were either born in prison or are still too young to be separated from their mothers who are serving their sentence.

Government to equip women prisons with daycare centers

In may 2021, reported about the government's plans to equip Kenyan Women Prisons with daycare centers.

According to Interior Chief Administrative Secretary Winnie Guchu, the move sought to help develop children born in correctional institutions.

The CAS lamented that the women and their children were sleeping on cold floors in crowded prisons due to a lack of beds.

Gichu observed that children as young as one month old lived with their jailed mothers in terrible situations.


Online view pixel