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Abstract

In this presentation I will discuss some of the preliminary findings from my qualitative research in the mother and baby unit within HMP Styal, a women’s prison in the North West of England.

In the UK, if a woman receives a custodial sentence when pregnant, or if she already has a baby in the community, she can apply to serve her sentence in one of six prison Mother and Baby Units. These units prevent the separation of mum and baby by allowing the child to live within the prison, up to the age of 18 months. The units provide a number of services designed to support the mother and baby, including parenting classes, crèche, and activities that promote the child’s healthy development. The main aim is to foster strong attachment, and to promote ‘good parenting’.

In this presentation I have two aims. First, to describe the ‘moral world’ of the mother and baby unit, highlighting the central values and commitments that are in play, and exploring how these are practiced and negotiated by different actors. In particular, I discuss how the prison’s goal of rehabilitation is tied to the identities of these women as mothers, and how different stakeholders define a ‘good mother’ in this context.

Second, I pose a normative question: how should the prison respect these women’s autonomy as mothers, whilst also restricting their liberty as prisoners? In order to answer this question, I consider the relative importance of a range of important yet often conflicting ethical values, including justice, care, trust and responsibility.

Forthcoming events

Ethox/WEH Seminar - Regulation of AI in healthcare: what should we expect?

Wednesday, 28 August 2019, 11am to 12.30pm @ Seminar room 0, BDI, Old Road Campus, OX3 7LF

Ethox/WEH Seminar - Genomic secondary findings in inherited heart conditions: a recall by genotype study

Wednesday, 04 September 2019, 11am to 12.30pm @ Seminar room 0, BDI, Old Road Campus, OX3 7LF

Oxford Open Doors

Saturday, 14 September 2019, 12.30pm to 4pm

The Nuffield Department of Population Health will be open to the public as part of this year's Open Doors event. Find out how medical researchers use big data to answer important questions about human health around the world.

Pharmaceutical policies in the long run: reflections on 60th anniversary of the Hinchliffe Report

Monday, 11 November 2019, 9.30am to 5pm @ Merton College, Merton Street Oxford, OX1 4JD

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Monday, 13 January 2020 to Tuesday, 14 January 2020, 9.30am - 5pm