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MA responds to Joint Committee report on the Right to family life: Children whose mothers are in prison


09 September 2019
MA responds to Joint Committee report on the Right to family life: Children whose mothers are in prison

The Joint Committee on Human Rights have published a report on the Right to family life: Children whose mothers are in prison.

The report highlights the irreparable harm that can be caused to children whose mother is imprisoned. The recommendations cover the need for better data collection, and the importance of sentencers taking any impact on children into consideration when deciding a sentence, as well as what support is needed for mothers and their children, if custody is imposed. 

The MA gave oral evidence to the Committee, as well as providing a written response to the questions set by the inquiry, which can be found here.

John Bache has responded to the report: 

“The MA welcome this important report into children’s right to a family life, and how this can be impacted when mothers are caught up in the criminal justice system. We support the need for sentencers to have detailed information about whether the individual before them has children, and if they do, what the impact of imposing custody would have on those children. Sentencers must ensure any sentence is proportionate, taking into account the impact on any children. We agree magistrates, unless there are exceptional circumstances, should not be sentencing people to immediate custody (including decisions following a breach of a suspended sentence order) without a pre-sentence report (PSR), especially if there are dependent children. Exceptional circumstances may include situations where there is a recent PSR, when a verbal update from probation can be sufficient to assure the court that there are no relevant changes to an individual's circumstances.”

 

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