It's hard to transition from prisoner to non-prisoner and harder if you're a mother whose mother has been taking care of your kids

Mom.

CAROLYN VAN HOUTEN | Times

Mom.

28

February

The Times' Caitlin Johnston in Sunday's Floridian:

Two cars wait beneath the bright lights and barbed wire of Lowell Correctional Institution.

In a black Ford 500, Mary Harris watches the clock creep closer to 1 a.m.

"It's like giving birth all over again," Mary says. "I'm like, 'When's the baby coming?' "

Mary has waited years for the moment when her oldest daughter would walk free. Nichole, 38, was sentenced to five years for possession and trafficking of drugs and car theft. She still blames it on her former husband, who is also the not-around father of the girl Nichole gave birth to just weeks before she went away.

Responsibility for caring for this child fell to another family member, as often happens when women are incarcerated. In this case it was Mary, 60, who already had custody of Nichole's older son.

"I figure when Nichole gets home, I'll be able to take care of myself," Mary says, hope evident in her voice.

[Last modified: Friday, February 28, 2014 2:36pm]

    

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