A policy intended to fight child poverty and ensure child safety allows incarcerated Afghan women to live with their children while in prison. Currently, there are over 225 young children living in Afghan prisons. In prison, the children are provided with food and access to some education. “I was living in a tent, and I don’t have that much money. In prison, at least my children have something to eat,” incarcerated mother of two Qandy reported to the Associated Press.
Prison protects children from common retribution for their mothers’ alleged offenses. It also keeps children from living in orphanages. Many of the incarcerated women have been accused of adultery or murder. In Afghanistan, offenders can face the death penalty or lengthy prison sentences for engaging in sex outside of marriage according to the Feminist Newswire.
“Some of my enemies are even in prison, and they ask about me. If my children were in an orphanage, I would not feel that they were safe,” Shiringul, a mother, said of her children. Shaperai, another incarcerated mother, expressed concerns about her 14-year-old daughter, “If I let my daughter go to live with her uncle, he may sell her to someone. I will never let him sell her,” the Associated Press reports.