NO PLACE FOR A CHILD
Six hundred pregnant women enter a prison every year in the UK and about a hundred babies are born inside , despite the fact that the prison environment may pose particular risks for pregnant women and unborn children .
In September 2019 , a newborn baby died in HMP Bronzefield ; another baby was stillborn in HMP Styal in June 2020 . The Ministry of Justice does not routinely collect
Why are children starting their lives in prison when there are viable community solutions available to get their mothers back on track , asks Hannah Shead
or publish data on miscarriages , stillbirths and neo-natal deaths so the number of deaths of babies born to imprisoned mothers may be higher .
It is well established that women rarely commit violent crimes or pose any danger to society . However despite this , the women ’ s prison population in England and Wales more than doubled between 1995 and 2010 – from under 2,000 women to over 4,000 . The number has since declined but the UK is characterised as having one of the highest rates of imprisonment for women in Western Europe .
In 2018 , the government published its Female Offender Strategy which sets its commitment to a new programme of work for female offenders , driven by three priorities :
• earlier intervention ,
• an emphasis on communitybased solutions , and
• an aim to make custody as effective and decent as possible for those women who do have to be there .
THE SERVICE Trevi , a leading southwest women ’ s charity , runs a CQC registered residential rehabilitation service known as Jasmine Mother ’ s Recovery ( formerly known as Trevi House ). The centre opened in 1993 in Plymouth , Devon , as a drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation centre working exclusively with mothers and their children . Jasmine takes referrals from across the UK and can accommodate up to 12 women and their children at any time . Each mother follows a trauma informed therapeutic rehabilitation plan over an average 24 week stay . Facilities include residential rooms , family
14 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • OCTOBER 2021 WWW . DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS . COM