Freedom to grieve
This chapter reflects on practical issues to pose questions to challenge the caregivers across the criminal justice system to consider the impact that these situations can have on children and their parents and encourage them. The bewildering effect on the child when a parent is absent can have a detrimental effect on his or her development. Grief and loss for prisoners is further complicated when others become the chief decision makers, adding to feelings of powerlessness and leading to unresolved grief. Prisoners are at the mercy of the system and their lives are determined by the decisions of others in a closely controlled environment. Structures, policies and procedures, inherent within the criminal justice system and aimed at protecting the public, require significant and demanding questions to be addressed to enable the incarcerated parent of a dying child the freedom to engage in meaningful end-of-life decision making.