Flowers for Incarcerated Mothers
80% of women behind bars are mothers.
1/25 women in prison have given birth in shackles
1/10 will be abused in prison
75% are survivors of domestic violence
Women are the fastest growing segment of the incarcerated population increasing at nearly double the rate of men since 1985. Over 50% of incarcerated women are housed in jails, which have significantly fewer services than prisons. Statistics provided by Operation Restoration in New Orleans. Please support their work!
An extension of The Solitary Gardens, we are growing flowers on behalf of incarcerated mothers. Through the invitation of several formerly incarcerated women, we contacted over two dozen (and growing) incarcerated Moms. Many of them are serving life-sentences. Each incarcerated mother was sent a letter or Jpay (prison email) introducing the project with images and descriptions, anecdotal stories and healing qualities of the 12-kinds of flowers we are growing on their behalf. The descriptions we shared of the flowers are included on the placards visible below. These 12-flowers were chosen because of their unique ability to grow in New York, New Orleans, and Houston where we are growing gardens for the mom’s. Many of the mothers shared sweet and meaningful reasons they chose their flower with us, and with permission we share these treasured notes as part of the installation.
As part of Project Row House’s Round 48, artist jackie sumell transformed a row house into a (G)row House where viewers were encouraged to take starts or seeds grown in the installation to plant them in homes, gardens, businesses, — wherever. Grown were the same 10-flowers shared with the mothers. As part of the project, folks were asked to document the success and failure of their planted flowers and send images to MOMS@SolitaryGardens.org We will share the images of flowers and location to all the moms who chose that flower using Flikshop, a prisoner support app that sends postcards. This way, these incarcerated moms can see themselves planted outside prison walls.