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Prisoners: Females

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL11076, tabled on 3 December 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many women in prison are (1) pregnant, or (2) mothers with primary caring responsibilities.

Answered on

16 December 2020

Pregnancy data is collected locally by individual prisons, to ensure the appropriate support can be provided to women in our care. Currently, there is no central collection of this data.

I am however, able to confirm that an ad hoc data collection exercise was undertaken last year, which found that at 15:00hrs on 28 October 2019, 47 women in prison self-declared as pregnant, including those on remand and who had been sentenced.

On 31 July we published a summary report of our review of operational policy on pregnancy and women separated from children under 2. This includes an undertaking to extend the range of data we publish in relation to pregnant women in prison and can be found in the attached document. We have already taken steps to increase our internal national data collection processes to support the policy review, and to enable us to plan for future publication.

We recognise that maternal imprisonment can have particularly detrimental impact on family life, and that children whose mothers are in prison are a vulnerable group and may need additional help to address both the short and long-term impacts that maternal imprisonment can have.

At the moment, information on a prisoner’s caring responsibilities and children living in the community is monitored locally by prison Governors/Directors to ensure the appropriate support can be provided to women and their families.

On reception into custody, all prisoners are asked if they have any children living at home and what their ages are. Currently, this information is not captured in a way that can be centrally monitored, and we know that there are challenges around parents being reluctant to disclose this information due to fear of involvement from social services.

However, we are considering how to monitor and publish this information.