Prisoners: Childbirth

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 16th March 2020.

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Photo of Jo Stevens Jo Stevens Labour, Cardiff Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of pregnant women placed in solitary confinement in each prison in (a) 2017, (b) 2018 and (c) 2019; and what the average length of time was for each woman to be placed in solitary confinement.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

HMPPS does not hold people in solitary confinement but there are occasions where, for their own safety or that of others and in line with PSO 1700, prisoners are segregated from the main population of the prison.

Our policy is clear that pregnant women should only be held in segregation exceptionally. Healthcare visits and assessments by a doctor and healthcare staff take place regularly on segregation units to ensure that prisoners can be removed from segregation if there are any physical or mental health grounds to do so. An initial healthcare screen is completed by a doctor or registered nurse within two hours of a prisoner being placed in segregation.

We do not hold central data on the number of pregnant women that have been placed in segregation units, although governors of individual prisons will be aware of numbers of pregnant women in segregation in their establishment.

We are conducting a review of our policy on Mother and Baby Units, which includes looking at what information related to pregnancy and birth can be collected centrally and published. The review is due to be published in the Summer.

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