This child has committed no crime, nothing to warrant the trauma that awaits her if the Prison Service wins its case today. As for the mother, her punishment is meant to be her loss of freedom. Nothing she has done justifies the torture of having her child taken away.
Sadly, this case demonstrates that the Prison Service has learnt little since being forced by public outrage to abandon the practice of shackling pregnant women during labour. It has also failed to learn from other countries where women - and often men - with children are dealt with more humanely. Last week, Jack Straw publicly committed the Government to supporting family life. The Home Secretary's task now is urgent: to order an inquiry into how best to allow children as much access as possible to both their mothers and their fathers while the adults are serving their sentences.
But his first job - if the courts do not do it for him today - is simple. Find a place somewhere in the prison system where this mother and her newborn baby can at last enjoy some security.Reuse content