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Imprisoned Women and Mothers

NCJ Number
D Caddle; D Crisp
Date Published
86 pages
A survey of female inmates in prisons in Great Britain gathered information about their demographics, as well as details about inmates who had children.
The survey took place in two stages. Screening interviews with 1,766 female inmates were followed by detailed interviews with inmates who were pregnant or had children under age 18. Thirty percent of the female inmates were under age 25 years, compared to 13 percent in the general population. Eighteen percent of the female inmates were from minority ethnic groups, compared to 4 percent of women in the general population. Ten percent of the inmate were foreign nationals. Two-thirds of the women were sentenced prisoners. Twenty-three percent had been convicted of drug law offenses, 23 percent of theft and fraud, and 21 percent of violence against the person. Sixty-one percent of the women had children under age 18, were pregnant, or both. Fifty-five percent had their first or only child when teenagers, compared to one-fifth of women in the general population. Twenty-seven percent were single mothers, compared to 8 percent in the general population. Thirty percent of the 2,168 children were under age 5, and 68 percent were ages 5-16. The mothers were in contact with their children and family by letter (85 percent), by telephone (75 percent), and through visits (53 percent). Findings suggested that the Prison Service should routinely collect information about inmates' parental status, should continuously review the adequacy of the number of units for mothers and babies, and should continue to develop facilities that enable mothers to be with their children. Tables, list of other Home Office publications, and 21 references