Gatekeeping in Context: Babymama Drama and the Involvement of Incarcerated Fathers.

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Roy, Kevin M.
Dyson, Omari L.
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Journal Article
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In this study, we explore the process of negotiation between mothers and fathers to secure, to restrict, and to define men's roles in their children's lives. Field notes and life history interview data were collected with 40 incarcerated men in a work-release program in a Midwestern metropolitan community. Partnering relationships were marked by confusion and conflict due to incarceration, deteriorating commitments, and stresses of low-income family life. Half of the participants described their children's mothers' efforts to discourage their involvement, while almost 75% noted instances of mothers' encouragement of their involvement. We use Identity Theory to frame the transformation of father identities in response to correctional policies and negotiations with their children's mothers. We conclude with implications for the study of the process of maternal gatekeeping and paternal involvement in correctional facilities. (Author abstract)

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