PUBLIC LETTER: Renewed calls for the release of pregnant women and mothers of children under two from prison

Women in Prison join Birth Companions and over 20 other charities in renewing calls to release pregnant women and mothers of under 2s from prison

We have joined our partners, Birth Companions, in calling on the Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland to:

• Make a renewed commitment to a swift, effective programme of early release for eligible pregnant women and mothers and babies on Mother and Baby Units (MBUs);

• Extend this early release scheme to include eligible mothers of children under the age of two in the community across the estate;

• Work with the Sentencing Council and the Magistrates Association to make a clear statement to sentencers emphasising the need for sentencing decisions made during the pandemic to take full account of the risks posed to the physical and mental health of women and their babies in the current prison regime, in line with existing sentencing guidance;

• Engage in an urgent and open discussion with voluntary sector specialists on the needs of pregnant women and mothers of young infants in the prison system at this time, and taking account of the recommendations made by the Joint Committee on Human Rights in their recent report in this area.

With support from:

Naomi Delap, Director, Birth Companions

Dr Kate Paradine, Chief Executive, Women in Prison
Marchu Girma, Chief Executive, Hibiscus Initiatives
Deborah Coles, Executive Director, INQUEST
Anna Herrmann, Joint Artistic Director, Clean Break
Niki Scordi, Chief Executive, Advance
Dr Laura Abbott, University of Hertfordshire
Dr Shona Minson, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford
Dr Lucy Baldwin, De Montfort University
Rona Epstein, Coventry Law School, Coventry University
Sofia Buncy, National Coordinator, Muslim Women in Prison Project
Niki Gould, Head of Women's Community Services, The Nelson Trust
Kate Fraser and Nikki Guy, Managers, Greater Manchester Women’s Support Alliance
Joy Doal, Chief Executive, Anawim Birmingham Women's Centre
Rokaiya Khan, Chief Executive, Together Women
Laura Fraser-Crewes, Strategic Lead, Sunflower Women's Centre, Trevi
Natasha Finlayson OBE, Chief Executive, Working Chance
Jackie May, Chief Executive, The Women's Centre Cornwall
Sara Swire, Chief Executive, New Dawn New Day Ltd
Gemma Fox, Managing Director, North Wales Women's Centre Ltd
Sophia Benedict, Women's Services Manager, Pecan
Lisa Dando, Director, Brighton Women's Centre
Laura Seebohm, Executive Director, Changing Lives
Amanda Greenwood, Chief Executive, Lancashire Wome