Every year approximately 600 pregnant women serve time in prison, and around 100 babies are born to women in custody. Women and babies in prison are entitled to receive the same care and support around pregnancy and birth as women in the community.
Working with women in prison since 1996
We began as a small group of volunteers, offering support to women in London's Holloway Prison so that they would not be giving birth alone. We now offer a range of support to women in three prisons in England as well as training serving prisoners as peer supporters.
We work with prisons to raise issues and find solutions to challenges such as women getting out to hospital in time when they are in labour, and having items they need like maternity clothes, breast pads and bras.
We also work to influence policy so that all perinatal women in custody get the right support. In 2016 we published our Birth Charter for women in prison in England and Wales which includes comprehensive recommendations to improve their care.
Where we work
We now offer emotional and practical support to pregnant women, new mothers, and those who are separated from their babies in three prisons:
HMP Foston Hall
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to temporarily suspend our prison-based classes, groups and visits. However, we are continuing to offer support to pregnant women and new mothers in custody through regular telephone, email and postal contact and by providing practical, advocacy and birth support as needed. We are also able to provide remote support to women who have been released from prison during the pandemic.