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Mothers in prison and the family court

Date:15 MAY 2023
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Dr Shona Minson Centre for Criminology University of Oxford

‘It is a long-established legal principle in England and Wales – expressed in statute case law procedure rules practice directions and guidance – that people should be able to participate effectively in the court and tribunal proceedings that directly concern them.’ (Jacobson 2020)

With an increasing number of women in prison family justice proceedings will from time to time involve a mother who is in prison. This article explores ‘effective participation’ which involves not just appearance at hearings but preparedness understanding and inclusion. It is important that all those involved in the process take account of the context of the mother’s participation as it is perhaps more complex than we have previously understood it to be. In the article I raise and rebut four assumptions which may be made about mothers taking part in proceedings from prison. (1) She’s in prison: she must have committed a serious crime (2) The criminal courts must have considered the impact of a custodial sentence on her children (3) The children...

Read the full article here.