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Prisoners: Mothers

Volume 462: debated on Wednesday 11 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many pregnant female offenders (a) applied for and (b) were granted permission for their children to remain with them in prison after birth in each of the last five years; and what the length was of the sentence served by each mother following birth. (148404)

The Prison Service is unable to provide any figures before October 2006 as these were not routinely recorded.

Between 1 October 2006 and 31 March 2007, there were 83 applications received. From these applications 52 boards sat and 37 were given a place on a mother and baby unit in custody, 31 of the 37 were sentenced women.

Between 1 April 2007 and 6 July 2007 a total of 34 applications were received, 29 sat boards and 22 women were granted a place. Fourteen of these successful applications were from sentenced mothers.

The discrepancies between application and board numbers are a result of several possible factors: withdrawn applications, pregnant women released from custody (both on remand and following sentencing), some may in fact still be awaiting boards or the results.

Information is not held centrally on the time actually served by women in the units.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the number of female prisoners with children under five years old. (148405)

The 2003-04 resettlement survey commissioned by the Prison Service Custody to Work Unit showed that half of all female prisoners had dependent children (including stepchildren), and that 46 per cent. of those women had lived with at least one dependent child before custody.