The Prisons Strategy White Paper set out a new approach for women’s prisons: one which is trauma responsive, recognises the distinct nature of women’s experience in custody and provides the appropriate levels of support, particularly for pregnant women and those with young children.
So far, we have developed bespoke selection and assessment criteria for staff in women’s prisons and started to roll out a bespoke model of staff training.
We have also funded a number of activities to support improvements in safety, including additional support for women with complex needs, specialist support for women who have experienced abuse and extra support during early days in custody.
In addition, we have announced the opening of a pilot Residential Women’s Centre in Swansea to provide a community-based alternative to a short custodial sentence.
The Pregnancy, Mother and Baby Unit and Maternal Separation from Children up to the Age of Two in Women’s Prisons Policy Framework (September 2021), committed to the introduction of the Pregnancy, Mother and Baby Liaison Officer across the women’s estate. There are 13 Liaison Officers in place and 12 attended the national ‘Managing Pregnant Women in Prison’ course in March 2022. Additionally, we have introduced a National Pregnancy, Mother and Baby Liaison Officers Support Network.
We also committed to The National Stakeholder Advisory Forum on Pregnancy, Mother and Baby Units, and Maternal Separation from Children up to the Age of Two in Women’s Prisons. This bi-annual event will bring together key stakeholders and individuals with lived experience ensuring a culture of reflective practice and informed policy development. The first event is scheduled for Autumn 2022 and the terms of reference will be shared with forum attendees in advance.