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Prisons: Mother and Baby Units

Justice written question – answered on 24th November 2011.

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Photo of Ian Swales Ian Swales Liberal Democrat, Redcar

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice

(1) how many mothers with babies were held in prison in each of the last five years;

(2) how many female prisoners applied for and were refused a place in a mother and baby unit in each of the last five years;

(3) how many women gave birth while serving a custodial sentence in each of the last five years.

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation)

Between 1 May 2010 and 31 March 2011 the average population of mothers in mother and baby units in prisons in England was 54. The population of mother and baby units includes expectant mothers.

Between 1 May 2010 and 31 March 2011 there were 254 applications received for admission to a mother and baby unit, of which, 26 were refused by a board.

Information prior to this date could be provided only at a disproportionate cost. These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems, which as with any large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

We do not hold information centrally on women giving birth while serving their sentence, to obtain this could be done only at disproportionate cost.

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