Mother figures behind bars: Pregnant women and mothers in prison in England and Wales

Katherine Albertson, Mary Renfrew, Georgina Lessing-Turner, Catherine Burke

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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    For over 100 years, mothers have been allowed to keep their babies with them in prisons, with these arrangements being formalised in England and Wales in the early 1980s. Every year, 600 pregnant women are held in prisons in the UK, yet Ministry of Justice figures suggest that only 100 babies live with their mothers in prison. This chapter presents a Foucauldian-inspired critique of the production of meaning through discourse to examine the contemporary discourse around motherhood in prison in the UK, alongside a critique of Mother and Baby unit application criteria. This chapter exposes the implicit and yet underpinning notional representations of 'appropriate' motherhood in this context.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMotherhood in Contemporary International Perspective
    Subtitle of host publicationContinuity and Change
    EditorsFabienne Portier-Le Cocq
    Place of PublicationOxford
    Number of pages17
    ISBN (Electronic)9780429198700
    ISBN (Print)9780367188436
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2019

    Publication series

    NameRoutledge Research in Gender and Society Series


    • women in prison
    • motherhood in prison
    • pregnant women
    • mother and baby unit


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