To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 30 November 2020 to Question 118531 on Prisons: Coronavirus, how many (a) pregnant women and (b) mothers of dependent children have entered prison since the end of March 2020.
14 December 2020
Pregnancy data is collected locally by individual prisons, to ensure the appropriate support can be provided to women in our care. I can 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 at the following link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/905559/summary-report-of-review-of-policy-on-mbu.pdf.
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.
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.