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Prisons and midwifery

02 June 2024
Volume 32 · Issue 6


George F Winter explores existing issues in the provision of midwifery care for women in prison, in relation to the United Nations' declaration regarding standards of care for prisoners

As of June 2023, the UK had a total prison population of 95 526 people: 85 851 in England and Wales, 7775 in Scotland and 1900 in Northern Ireland (Sturge, 2023). According to His Majesty's Prison and Probation Service (2023) in England and Wales in 2023, 4% of the prison population was female; in 2022/23, there were 194 pregnant women in prison and 44 births to women spending time in custody, with 43 births occurring in hospital ‘and one birth took place either in transit to hospital or within a prison’. A mother and baby unit is a designated accommodation unit in a women's prison that enables mothers, where appropriate, to have their children with them, and ‘in the year to March 2023, 51 women and 44 babies were received into [mother and baby units]; compared with 39 women and 40 babies in the previous reporting year; and there are currently six [mother and baby units] in operation across the women's estate in England – there are no women's prisons in Wales’ (His Majesty's Prison and Probation Service, 2023).

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