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Prisoners: Pregnancy

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL10, tabled on 19 December 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken following the disclosure of incidents involving pregnant women prisoners and their children at HMP Bronzefield.

Answered on

7 January 2020

The recent incident at HMP Bronzefield is tragic. As there are a number of ongoing investigations, including an investigation by the police, it is not appropriate to comment further on the specific details of the incident.

We are currently undertaking a fundamental review of the Mother and Baby Unit policy and the policy on managing pregnant women in custody. This will conclude in 2020.

In the meantime, all pregnant women are seen by a professional midwife at least fortnightly, or more frequently if required. Healthcare in prisons is provided by specially trained medics and nurses. Medical emergencies are dealt with by 999 calls and prisoners have access to an emergency bell to alert staff at night. Women in prison have access to the same range of services as they would in the community.

Following the events at HMP Bronzefield, we have introduced hourly checks throughout the night for all heavily pregnant women, and fortnightly pregnancy review boards are being held for them, involving a multidisciplinary team, in addition to existing support provisions.