Don’t Let Prison Put Pregnancies at Risk

Target: Sir Ian Burnett, President of Sentencing Council for England and Wales

Goal: Strengthen protections for expectant mothers under threat of imprisonment.

Mother’s Day is a time of celebration for many women, but for incarcerated women the day can become a time of sorrow, especially for expectant mothers. A study in the United Kingdom (UK) revealed that the number of incarcerated women whose newborns are admitted to neonatal critical units is twice the average of all expectant mothers. And in some tragic cases, infants have died. One reported instance involved a child being delivered stillborn into a prison toilet.

Pregnant women in UK prisons have used words such as “helpless” and “abandoned” to describe their circumstances. Advocates have cited the unsterile and unsanitary environments to which these women are routinely exposed. They have also claimed a lack of available prenatal care aides and overall resources.

A major organization is set to determine the possibility of new guidance for sentencing and assisting pregnant women. Sign the petition below to ensure this review becomes actionable reality.


Dear Sir Burnett,

From low birthweights to stillbirths, newborns of incarcerated women are experiencing a troubling uptick in critical health problems. Officials may try to divert blame for these statistics onto the women themselves, but the facts—and the sick children—cannot be ignored. A report from an independent watchdog detailing Europe’s biggest women’s prison, HMP Bronzefield, seemingly confirmed “outdated and inadequate” conditions.

Please do not dismiss these alarms. Act on the advice of the Royal College of Midwives to amend sentencing guidelines for pregnant women before another innocent life is lost.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Pixabay


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