Howard League blog · 14 Mar 2021
Mothers in prison
I am a mother. I have spent a lot of time in prisons and I know prison is no place for mothers. On Mothers’ Day, I am asking you to think about mothers in prison.
Imagine being a mother and being locked up in prison. For the last year mothers have not been able to hug their children. Even in normal times visits are intermittent and for many mothers they just don’t happen. Many mothers don’t want children to visit because visits are so fraught, having to sit still for two hours on plastic chairs in a clinical hall, opposite your fractious, anxious and upset child, after having not seen them for weeks or even months.
I can only just begin to imagine the extreme pain of not being to hug and spend time with your children every day. No one knows precisely how many children are separated from mothers in prison, but it is likely to be around 17,000 every year.
The good news is that the number of women in prison has fallen by around 600, but there are still too many mothers being remanded and sentenced to prison.
No one knows precisely how many children are separated from mothers in prison, but it is likely to be around 17,000 every year
The bad news is that the government has plans to build 500 more cells for women, which because there are now empty cells, will mean that they are planning for 1,200 more women to be locked up at any one time, and many thousands to experience prison for short periods. Most will be mothers – often of young children.
This is wrong, this is wicked and cruel.
Two babies died last year after women gave birth in prisons.
That is wrong, that is wicked and cruel.
On Mothers’ Day we think of the mothers and their children who have been in prison and the mothers and children who are locked up today. They are overwhelmingly in need of help and support, they are not dangerous to anyone else. They should not be in prison.
Please support the Howard League campaign to stop building more prison cells for mothers.