Prison is a scary place at the best of times, but the impact of the prolonged prison lockdown has been felt more acutely by women (often primary carers) who had to have their physical contact with children suspended.
According to the Ministry of Justice around 80 per cent of the more than 3,000 women in prison have been convicted of a non-violent offence, and pertinently around 17,000 children are separated from their mothers every year by imprisonment.
Video calls were introduced further into the lockdown – but they are still too often fragmented by poor-quality connections and technical hitches.
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I was a mother in prison and I know how painful it is not being able to comfort your children and keep them safe. I dread to think how that must be now for so many mothers behind bars today.
Being in prison away from your children and the guilt that goes along with the impact your actions are having on their lives is horrendous. The younger they are the harder it is for them to understand why mummy isn’t there. Add to that the impact of the pandemic and it must be even harder not to crumble under the weight of worry, fear, guilt and not seeing them – and then also wanting to see them but not wanting to expose them to the virus.