Document Type


Publication Title

Columbia Journal of Race and Law

Publication Date




Family law scholars and advocates have expressed the importance of providing counsel to parents in the family regulation system, especially parents who are incarcerated, because of the system’s complexities. This article establishes, however, that when mothers must navigate both the family regulation and criminal legal systems, the protections appointed parents’ counsel are supposed to provide are weakened. These harms are heightened especially for Black mothers within the carceral state. As this article shows, appointed lawyers in family regulation cases cannot properly protect the due process rights of mothers who are incarcerated because of the added challenges both mothers and their lawyers face. As a result, families are destined to experience trauma, and are likely to end with the termination of parental rights. This article offers concrete recommendations to address these critical issues and demands a reduction in the number of mothers who are incarcerated and in the family regulation system.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.