Isolating Past Unfitness: The Obstacle of In re Gwynne P. for Incarcerated Parents in Illinois
McIntyre, Anne S.
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This comment examines the termination of parental rights for incarcerated parents in Illinois through a discussion of the Illinois Supreme Court case, In re Gwynne P. The number of incarcerated mothers has dramatically increased over the past twenty years. Despite efforts to reform their lifestyles, many of these women will lose their parental rights solely because of past incarceration. According to the Illinois Adoption Act, a court can find a parent unfit if repeated incarceration has prevented the parent from discharging parental responsibilities. While incarceration often provides legitimate grounds for terminating parental rights, courts should address parental unfitness on a case-by-case basis and consider the impact on a parent's fundamental rights. This comment explores one mother's struggle to preserve her parental rights and argues that the court did not give sufficient weight to her reformed lifestyle and efforts to maintain a parent-child relationship.