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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

Richard Doll Seminar - Some contemporary insights into cardio-vascular risk

Tuesday, 18 June 2019, 1pm to 3pm @ Seminar rooms, BDI, Old Road Campus, OX3 7LF

Ethox and WEH Seminar - Ethical preparedness and genomics in the headlines

Wednesday, 26 June 2019, 11am to 12.30pm @ Seminar room 0, BDI, Old Road Campus, OX3 7LF

HERC Seminar - Quality of Life Trajectories in Total knee Replacement Patients: What can they tell us?

Thursday, 27 June 2019, 1pm to 2pm @ Seminar room 0, BDI, Old Road Campus, OX3 7LF

Richard Doll Seminar - The ASPREE Study: The use of aspirin in older people without cardiovascular disease

Monday, 01 July 2019, 1pm to 2pm @ Richard Doll Lecture Theatre, Richard Doll Building, Old Road Campus, OX3 7LF

NPEU Research Seminar - Women and cardiovascular disease: an odd couple?

Tuesday, 09 July 2019, 10.30am to 11.30am @ Lecture Theatre, Richard Doll Building, Old Road Campus, OX3 7LF