Each year 18,000 children are separated from their mothers by imprisonment - with just over 4,000 women in jail. Two thirds of them are held on remand, with the majority going on to receive non-custodial sentences. Of those that are sentenced, most are jailed for non-violent crimes. Two years ago, the Labour peer Baroness Corston produced a report for the Home Office in which she concluded that existing women's prisons should be closed. Welcoming the report, the then Home Office Minister, Baroness Scotland, concluded that 'vulnerable women who are not a danger to society should not be going to prison'. But many still are, and they are often the sole carers for their children. In a move to ease the situation, in nine jails across the UK, a handful of women get to keep their babies with them. These special Mother and Baby Units provide places for children up to either 9 or 18 months. Liz Wallace went to meet the babies, prisoners and staff of Holloway Prison.
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