This is so tragic. Sadly not every story can be about unicorns and rainbows. Oh how I wish this was the case. Recently Ministry of Justice figures have suggested that 100 babies spent time living with their mothers in prisons last year. I mean, a baby belongs with its Mum right? But what if Mum is locked up? Sad. PM David Cameron has called for an URGENT rethink of the way the prison system in England and Wales treats pregnant women and mothers with babies. Finally. Sense prevails. In fact, the Prime Minister said it was “absolutely terrible” to think of infants spending time behind bars. Yes, I agree. I have often had the same thought and I am not even Prime Minister. Yet. I kid.
Cameron is due to give a speech on prisons policy and said, “There are actually women in these prisons who were born in the same prison 20 years earlier, and then have ended up there later as criminals themselves. ” How sad.
Breaking the cycle
Currently, when a woman gives birth while serving a custodial sentence, she is normally transferred to a prison’s mother and baby unit (MBU) for an initial period. According to the BBC, MBU policy requires that these units should be available to accommodate babies up until the age of 18 months. PM Cameron commented “It’s time to think seriously about whether this is the right approach.We’ve got to break this cycle.” In his upcoming review, he will examine whether female offenders with babies could be dealt with by special problem-solving courts, housed in resettlement units or electronically tagged, rather than being locked up. Further, Downing Street (where the PM lives) said alternatives to custody would not be appropriate in every case and in some circumstances it could be in the best interests of the child for both mother and baby to be together in prison.
I don’t know what the right answer or approach is. Am just glad the government is looking into it.