5. Pregnancy and childcare in prison

Women who give birth in prison can keep their baby for the first 18 months in a mother and baby unit.

A prisoner with a child under 18 months old can apply to bring their child to prison with them.

Social Services arrange for children over 18 months to be cared for, eg by the prisoner’s parents, or fostering.

Applying for a place in a mother and baby unit

  1. The prisoner can apply for a space in a mother and baby unit when they enter prison.

  2. An admissions board will decide if it’s the best thing for the child.

  3. If there are no places in the prison the mother first goes to, they may be offered a place in another unit.

  4. If there are no spaces in any unit, arrangements must be made for the child to be cared for outside prison.

  5. If the mother is refused a place they can appeal - the prison will explain how.

  6. Separation plans are made when the mother enters prison if the child will reach 18 months before her sentence is over.

For prisoners with sentences of 18 months or over, arrangements are normally made for the child to be cared for outside prison.

Prisons with mother and baby units

The following prisons have mother and baby units:

  • Bronzefield
  • Eastwood Park
  • Styal
  • New Hall
  • Peterborough
  • Askham Grange

Find a prison.