WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
February 20 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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Prison sentence quashed so woman can give birth safely

Prison sentence quashed so woman can give birth safely

A pregnant woman’s conviction has been replaced by a suspended sentence so that she can give birth safely. The woman, 22, has a potentially life-threatening conditions which affects both her and her unborn baby.

Campaigners and the woman’s mother voiced fears about the conditions which the pregnant woman would face while giving birth. In 2019, another woman, Rianna Cleary, gave birth alone in her cell and her calls for help went unnoticed for 12 hours, causing her baby to die. The risk of women going into premature labour, among many other issues, was addressed by the pregnant woman’s counsel, Pippa Woodrow.

Janey Starling, co-director of Level Up (a community campaigning group to stop the imprisonment of pregnant women) told The Guardian, ‘Several other countries do not imprison pregnant women or new mothers and England’s courts are beginning to catch up. Prison will never be a safe place to be pregnant.’

In a 2020 study by Nuffield Trust, it was found that one in 10 women detained in UK prisons give birth either in their cell or on the way to the hospital. In the last two years, two babies have died after being born in prison.

Another woman, who was released on bail and is due to give birth in the coming days, told The Guardian, ‘I have never been so terrified of anything in my life as the prospect of having to give birth in prison.’ This woman, along with many others in various UK prisons, have been given rape alarms. They have been described as ‘personal alarms’ by Sodexo, the company running HMP Bronzefield where Rianna Clearly’s baby died, and aim to provide pregnant women with ‘an extra level of reassurance.’

In response to these new measures, Seyi Falodun-Liburd, co-director of Level Up, said, ‘Prisons resorting to handing out rape alarms to pregnant women emphasises the total lack of confidence staff have in their ability to keep people safe.’