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Statement demanding that no more babies die in prison

End the imprisonment of pregnant people and the avoidable deaths of babies in prison


We are prisoners, ex-prisoners, academics, health workers, local councillors and social justice groups who were outraged and broken-hearted to hear the news that two babies have needlessly died in prison in the last year. We call on the Ministry of Justice to release all pregnant people immediately and to put measures in place in the courts to end the imprisonment of those who are pregnant.


One baby died at HMP Bronzefield a year ago in September 2019 and another at HMP Styal in June 2020. In both cases the mother gave birth in a prison cell rather than at hospital. The prisons and the Ministry of Justice have refused to release information publicly about why the mothers were not taken to hospital, despite being in labour. These deaths, and the resulting trauma for the families of the babies, could have been prevented with appropriate support and access to health care.


It is well known that access to healthcare is routinely denied to people in prison and the specific health needs of pregnant people are often ignored. In 2018, the Care Quality Commission found that prisoners had died due to prison staff failing to respond properly to medical emergencies. A more recent report from the Nuffield Trust found that prisoners miss 40% of hospital appointments and that prisoners had been admitted to hospital with life-threatening conditions caused by lack of treatment for diabetes. Research into conditions for pregnant people in prison found that they


do not have access to extra or additional pregnancy specific nutrition, they do not always have easy access to a midwife, to pregnancy guidance or support, to maternity wear, heartburn tablets and.. not even a comfortable bed or breast pads’ (Abbott and Baldwin 2020).

An audit by the Nuffield Trust shows that in 2017-18 six births took place outside of hospital, presumably in cells or ambulances, accounting for about one in 10 births to prisoners recorded by the NHS in that year. While the Ministry of Justice does not publish statistics on this, research by Dr Laura Abbott found that midwifery care was often denied to people who felt they were in labour and that several prisoners and staff members had experience of births happening in prison cells.


The prison system manages people within it based on models of security and risk, which are incompatible with care for and protection of human life. Prison is not an appropriate environment for pregnant people; it is not conducive to either the mother’s or the unborn baby’s health (Abbott and Baldwin 2020). Organisations supporting pregnant people in prison have repeatedly informed the Ministry of Justice over several years of the poor conditions and lack of access to healthcare in prisons, as well as the serious risk of mothers and/or babies dying as a result. The Ministry of Justice has failed to take action.


This issue is now even more urgent due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Pregnant people have been included on the government’s list of those clinically vulnerable to COVID-19. In addition to this, prisons have responded to the pandemic by keeping prisoners locked in cells for 22 - 24 hours per day, increasing the risk of pregnant people going into labour in cells or being unable to access maternity care. The government acknowledged this with a promise in March 2020 to release pregnant women and women with babies in prison Mother and Baby Units, in order to allow them to safely self-isolate in the community. Despite this promise, pregnant people are still languishing in prison. We call on the Ministry of Justice to act immediately on this promise and release all pregnant people and mothers with babies in Mother and Baby Units, in order to prevent further harm and deaths


Throughout pregnancy, people should be provided with care and support towards optimal well-being, safety, and dignity for themselves and their infant. Prison cannot and will not ever be able to provide this.


The government needs to act immediately and we demand that all pregnant prisoners and mothers with babies in Mother and Baby Units are released from prison by the 1st of November with adequate housing and support. If this is not done we will continue to campaign until this demand is met.


Resources

Baby dies in UK prison after inmate 'gives birth alone in cell'

Revealed: concerns over string of incidents at UK prison where baby died

Two babies have died in a prison cell as women in jail are refused basic medical care

Why Do We Still Imprison Pregnant Women?

Why Has Another Baby Died In Prison?

Pregnancy and childbirth in English prisons


Signatories

Radical Groups / Campaign Groups

Prisoner Solidarity Network

Community Action on Prison Expansion Campaign

The Class Work Project

Desolation Radio

Kurdish Solidarity Network Jin

Merched Undod

Women’s Strike Assembly

Community Action on Prison Expansion

Cradle Comunity

Trans Prisoner Alliance

Cambs Prisoner and Detainee Solidarity

Kurdish Women’s Movement UK Representation

Shoal Collective

IWW Cymru

Anarchist Black Cross Brighton

Cardiff Food Not Bombs

London Prisoner Solidarity Coalition

Rob Griffiths, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain

Mymuna Soleman, Privelage Cafe

bluebaglife

JENGbA Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association


Prisoners / Ex-Prisoners

John Bowden

Nicole Rose

Baris Aksoy

Kevan Thakrar

Christian Barabutu

Sarah Jane Baker


Academics

Dr Emily Luise Heart, University of Liverpool

Dr Joey Whitfield, Cardiff University

Dr Laura Abbott

Dr Michaela Booth

Dr David Scott, The Open University

Dr. Nicholas S.M. Matheou, University of London

Dr Roxanna Dehaghani, Cardiff University

Dr Robert Jones, Cardiff University

Dr Nicola Harding Lancaster University

Lorenzo M. Bondioli, Ph.D. candidate Princeton University

Ilya Afanasyev, Research Fellow, Higher School of Economics, Moscow

Dr. Leila Ullrich, Lecturer in Law, Queen Mary University of London

Dr Lucy Bell Surrey University

Dr Julia Downes, The Open University

Francesca Esposito, Research Fellow at the Centre of Criminology, University of Oxford

Professor Elspeth Webb

Retired Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health, Cardiff University


Healthcare Professionals

Charlotte Williams, Registered Midwife, London

Catrin Jones, Holistic Birthworker / Doula


Politicians

County Councillor Steve Collings Deiniol, Bangor



Datganiad yn mynnu na fydd mwy o fabanod yn marw yn y carchar!

Dod â charchariad pobl feichiog a marwolaethau babanod y gellir eu hosgoi yn y carchar i ben


Rydym yn garcharorion, cyn-garcharorion, trefnwyr, academyddion a grwpiau sydd yn gwthio am gyfiawnder cymdeithasol sydd yn torri calon ac yn gandryll wrth glywed y newyddion bod dau fabi wedi marw yn ddiangen yn y carchar dros y flwyddyn diwethaf. Rydym yn galw ar y Weinyddiaeth Cyfiawnder i ryddhau pob person beichiog ar unwaith ac i roi mesurau ar waith yn y llysoedd i ddod â charchariad y rhai sy'n feichiog i ben.


Bu farw un babi yn HMP Bronzefield ym mis Medi 2019 ac un arall yn HMP Styal ym mis Mehefin 2020. Yn y ddau achos rhoddodd y fam enedigaeth mewn cell yn y carchar yn hytrach nag yn yr ysbyty. Mae'r carchardai a'r Weinyddiaeth Gyfiawnder wedi gwrthod rhyddhau gwybodaeth yn gyhoeddus ynghylch pam na aethpwyd â'r mamau i'r ysbyty, er eu bod yn esgor. Gellid bod wedi atal y marwolaethau hyn, a'r trawma i deuluoedd y babanod gyda chefnogaeth a mynediad priodol at ofal iechyd.


Rydym yn gwybod fod mynediad i ofal iechyd yn cael ei wrthod yn rheolaidd i bobl yn y carchar ac mae anghenion iechyd penodol pobl feichiog yn aml yn cael eu hanwybyddu. Yn 2018, canfu’r Comisiwn Ansawdd Gofal fod carcharorion wedi marw oherwydd bod staff carchardai wedi methu ag ymateb yn iawn i argyfyngau meddygol. Canfu adroddiad mwy diweddar gan Ymddiriedolaeth Nuffield fod carcharorion yn colli 40% o apwyntiadau ysbyty. Canfu hefyd fod carcharorion wedi cael eu derbyn i'r ysbyty gyda chyflyrau sy'n peryglu bywyd a achosir gan ddiffyg triniaeth ar gyfer diabetes.


Yn ôl ymchwil penodol i amodau ar gyfer pobl feichiog yn y carchar:


nid oes ganddynt fynediad at faeth ychwanegol na phenodol i feichiogrwydd, nid oes ganddynt bob amser fynediad hawdd i fydwraig, i arweiniad neu gefnogaeth beichiogrwydd, i ddillad mamolaeth, tabledi llosg y galon a ... dim hyd yn oed gwely cyfforddus neu badiau'r fron' (Abbott a Baldwin 2020).

Bu i archwiliad gan Ymddiriedolaeth Nuffield ddangos ei bod yn debygol fod chwe genedigaeth wedi digwydd y tu allan i'r ysbyty yn 2017-18, mewn celloedd neu ambiwlans yn ôl pob tebyg. Mae hyn yn cynrychioli tua un o bob 10 genedigaeth i garcharorion a gofnodwyd gan y GIG yn y flwyddyn honno. Er nad yw'r Weinyddiaeth Gyfiawnder yn cyhoeddi ystadegau ar hyn, canfu ymchwil gan Dr Laura Abbott fod gofal bydwreigiaeth yn aml yn cael ei wrthod i bobl a oedd yn teimlo eu bod yn esgor a bod gan sawl carcharor ac aelod o staff brofiad o enedigaethau yn digwydd mewn celloedd carchar.


Mae'r system garchardai yn rheoli pobl yn seiliedig ar fodelau diogelwch a risg, sy'n anghydnaws â amddiffyn a gofal am fywyd dynol. Nid yw carchar yn amgylchedd priodol ar gyfer menywod beichiog; nid yw'n ffafriol i iechyd y fam na'r babi yn y groth (Abbott a Baldwin 2020). Mae sefydliadau sy'n cefnogi pobl feichiog yn y carchar wedi hysbysu'r Weinyddiaeth Gyfiawnder dro ar ôl tro dros sawl blwyddyn o'r amodau gwael a'r diffyg mynediad at ofal iechyd mewn carchardai, yn ogystal â'r risg ddifrifol y byddai mamau a / neu fabanod yn marw o ganlyniad. Mae'r Weinyddiaeth Gyfiawnder wedi methu â gweithredu.


Mae'r mater hwn bellach hyd yn oed yn fwy brys oherwydd pandemig Covid-19. Mae menywod beichiog wedi’u cynnwys ar restr y llywodraeth o’r rhai sy’n glinigol fregus yn sgil COVID-19. Yn ogystal â hyn, mae carchardai wedi ymateb i'r pandemig trwy gadw carcharorion dan glo mewn celloedd am 22 - 24 awr y dydd. Mae hyn yn cynyddu'r risg y bydd pobl feichiog i fynd i esgor mewn celloedd neu'n methu â chael mynediad at ofal mamolaeth. Cydnabu’r llywodraeth hyn gydag addewid ym mis Mawrth 2020 i ryddhau menywod beichiog a menywod â babanod yn Unedau Mamau a Babanod yn y carchar er mwyn caniatáu iddynt hunan-ynysu’n ddiogel yn y gymuned. Er gwaethaf yr addewid hwn, yn ôl y ffigurau diwethaf a nodwyd gan y llywodraeth ar 18 Mehefin, dim ond chwech o bobl feichiog ac 16 mam newydd sydd wedi’u rhyddhau. Rydym yn galw ar y Weinyddiaeth Gyfiawnder i weithredu ar unwaith ar yr addewid hwn a rhyddhau pob person beichiog a mam sydd â babanod mewn Unedau Mamau a Babanod, er mwyn atal niwed a marwolaethau pellach.


Trwy gydol beichiogrwydd, dylid darparu gofal a chefnogaeth i bobl tuag at y lles, y diogelwch a'r urddas gorau posibl iddynt hwy eu hunain a'u babanod. Ni all ac ni fydd carchar byth yn gallu darparu hyn.


Mae angen i'r llywodraeth weithredu ar unwaith ac rydym yn mynnu bod pob carcharor beichiog a mam sydd â babanod mewn Unedau Mamau a Babanod yn cael eu rhyddhau o'r carchar erbyn 1 o Dachwedd, 2020 gyda chefogaeth a lle i fyw addas. Os na wneir hyn byddwn yn parhau i ymgyrchu nes bod y galw hwn yn cael ei ateb.




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