“The children of prisoners are the invisible victims of crime and the penal system” Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People 2008
A number of women’s prisons have Mother and Baby Units which allow mothers to have their baby with them while in prison.
All prisoners with babies are entitled to apply to the Admissions Board for a place on a Mother and Baby Unit.
The Admissions’ Board’s remit is to decide what is in the child’s best interests, taking into account the health and safety of all mothers and babies living in the unit and the maintenance of good order and discipline within the prison. A careful assessment is carried out with consideration being given to the short and long term needs of the child.
Mother and Baby Units
Mother and Baby Units are available at the following prisons.
HMP Askham Grange, Acorn Family Centre, Askham Richard, York YO23 3FT
The nursery is staffed by Barnardo’s. This is an open prison where all the mothers on the unit are sentenced. Up to eleven children may live here from birth up to eighteen months. There are ten rooms*.
HMP Bronzefield, Woodthorpe Road, Ashford, Middx. TW15 3JZ
This is a privately funded prison which opened in June 2004 and is the only purpose-built private prison for women only in the UK. It is operated by Sodexo and is the largest female prison in Europe. The mothers may be on remand or sentenced. Up to thirteen children may live here from birth up to eighteen months. There are twelve rooms*.
HMP Eastwood Park, Falfield, Wotton-under-Edge, Glos. GL12 8DB
This is a local prison where prisoners may be on remand or sentenced. Up to thirteen children may live here from birth up to eighteen months. There are twelve rooms*.
HMP & YOI New Hall, Dial Wood, Flockton,Wakefield WF4 4XX
This is a closed prison and the nursery is staffed by Action For Children. Up to ten children may live here from birth up to eighteen months (until the summer of 2010 the maximum age was nine months). There are nine rooms*.
HMP Peterborough,Saville Road, Westwood,Peterborough, Cambs. PE3 7PD
This is a local privately funded prison which opened in 2005 and is operated by Sodexo. All mothers are remanded, convicted or sentenced. Up to thirteen children may live here from birth to eighteen months. There are twelve rooms*.
Secure training centre Rainsbrook,Willoughby, Nr. Rugby, Warwicks. CV23 8SY
Placements are directly referred by Youth Justice Board’s Placement Team. A purpose built unit accommodates up to three pregnant young women with up to four babies up to eighteen months old.
HMP & YOI Styal, Wilmslow,Cheshire SK9 4HR
This is a closed prison where mothers are remanded or sentenced. The unit is managed and run by Action for Children staff. Up to ten children may live here from birth up to eighteen months. There are nine rooms*.
*Unit can accommodate twins.
Please note that the Mother & Baby Unit at HMP & YOI Holloway, which could accommodate up to thirteen children in a closed prison, closed in September 2013.
Following the Women’s Estate Review, published on 25th October 2013, the Mother and Baby Unit at HMP & YOI Askham Grange is also due to close at the same time as the whole prison. The date for this closure is not yet known.