More than 17,000 children are forcibly separated from their mothers every year in England and Wales as a result of imprisonment, according to new figures.
The Howard League for Penal Reform says two-thirds of women jailed last year were convicted of non-violent offences and could have been punished in the community instead, sparing 11,000 children the agony of enforced separation.
The group's report, Voice of a Child, says that 17,240 children under 18 were separated from their mothers in England and Wales in 2010 through imprisonment.
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