Prisoners: Childbirth

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 23rd November 2018.

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Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Labour, Wallasey

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisoners gave birth in prison without a midwife present in the last year for which information is available.

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The information is not centrally held and could obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, all pregnant women in custody have an individual care and management plan that is communicated to all staff and all pregnant women are seen by a mid-wife at least fortnightly or as required. Healthcare in prisons is provided by trained medics and nurses, but we have also made training on dealing with pregnant women available to all prison officers.

We know it is extremely rare for a woman to give birth in prison - because every step is taken to get them to hospital - but those unique cases are invariably down to the unpredictability of labour.

Our new Female Offenders Strategy made clear that we want fewer women serving short sentences in custody and more remaining in the community, making use of women’s centres to address needs such as substance misuse and mental health problems.

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