Today, Birth Companions shares its response to the Sentencing Council's consultation on proposed changes to guidelines around the imposition of community and custodial sentences, drawing on 28 years of experience supporting perinatal women in prison, and campaigning for the end of the use of imprisonment for pregnant women and mothers of infants. 

Birth Companions’ submission can be downloaded here

This submission addresses the consultation questions, particularly focusing on the issues relating to women facing sentencing during pregnancy or the postnatal period (two years after birth). It has been developed with input from women with relevant lived experience, and our frontline staff who work with women in prisons and under probation supervision after leaving custody. Our response includes proposed revisions to the draft guideline, and comments shared by members of our Lived Experience Team.

Overall, Birth Companions strongly supports the Council’s proposed changes to the Imposition guideline, though we believe elements of it need to be strengthened in order to ensure the specific needs and challenges faced by pregnant women, mothers of infants, and their babies are fully taken into account in sentencing decisions.

Throughout this submission, we recommend that references to pregnancy and birth are extended to include the postnatal period; and that the postnatal period be specified as covering the 24 months after birth. These changes will align the Sentencing Council’s guidance with the critical ‘first 1001 days’ from conception to a child’s second birthday, recognised by government as laying the foundations for long term development.[1]

To discuss our submission to this Sentencing Council consultation, or further work in this area, please contact Katherine Miller Brunton.

Birth Companions is registered in England and Wales under charity number 1120934 at Office 118, 372 Old Street, London, EC1V 9LT, England. We use cookies to improve your experience using this website.
Log in | Powered by White Fuse