UK government schemes have been proposed in order to change the processes in which women on trial with newborn children are dealt with during their sentence.
This government recognition may have come at a pivotal time alongside the release of official statistics on the government website which highlights a total number of 100 babies in 2015 having spent time living with their mothers in confined facilities. This may have contributed to a political dialogue surrounding the scale of young newborns subjected to a confined environment and therefore may have encouraged governments to both evaluate the process of care for babies, as well as taking a course of action in changing the way mother-child facilities may be modified to create a safer and healthier environment for both pregnant mothers and their children.
Currently, women on trial who give birth during the serving of a custodial sentence, are usually transferred to a Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) for an initial period of up to 18 months. However this process may be set to alter, with mothers permitted to stay in (MBU) for a longer period and in turn create a significant increase in the time and quality of bonding between mother and child. This may be considered pivotal during the early stages of parenthood and may make the experience of motherhood seem more manageable, within the unique circumstances of confinement.
Likewise, David Cameron’s public speech due for policies may address the subject matter by focusing on practical alternatives to the Mother and Baby Unit in a bid to further facilitate mothers and children. These have included, alternative housing for mother and babies which may have the ability to offer privacy, tagging systems which may allow mothers to be at home for a period of time and, changes in court procedures which may take into account the due dates of birth when sentencing. These strategies may also align with the government’s proposition to pilot new satellite tracking technology set to launch later this year and may consequently have the ability to be used for mothers in resettlement housing as a form of police control. As an alternative to imprisonment, this may see a largely healthier environment for children.
Additionally correlation’s between those born in confinement and those who may go on to reoffend may also become a cause for change, with the government able to make a difference to this cycle with a cost-effective and long term solution as simple as changing the environment for mothers and their children. This may then have the ability to control future populations through modifying the surrounding of infants born in an enclosed environment.
Likewise, the psychological effects of newborns in the early stages of development may also be affected in a confined solitary condition with little resources to engage and facilitate the growth of the child. Therefore, government alternative housing may present a warmer and healthier atmosphere for new born children to develop and grow in the primary stages of development.
Therefore, a change in how institutions handle mothers with children may have the ability to evade pre-existing stereotypes surrounding the limitations of motherhood for those carrying out sentences.
These changes may have the ability to create a dialogue on whether mother and babies require to remain together and, for what duration post initial stages of birth. As well as this, it may have the ability to engage the public in a discussion regarding alternative custodial rights or foster care that may be put in place as advantageous alternatives in the benefit of the child. The government’s acknowledgement of the need to further improve conditions for mothers may have the ability to offer compassion and understanding for women who seek support during unique circumstances of motherhood.
How may new government schemes for mothers in confinement create a safer and healthier environment for newborns?