Keep Babies in Jail: Sue Bradford

The Greens in New Zealand must be the most contrary political party of them all.

2 Elections ago they won huge support for their stand against Genetic Engineering and they painted a plausible picture of NZ as the clean food supply for the wealthy (and hopefully us, too).
After the election they were overruled by their coalition partner, Labour, and GE became legal. The practice doesn’t seem to have taken off but the door has swung open.

Sue Bradford - killing the Greens?

Since then the Greens, through long time activist Sue Bradford, has campaigned to see prostitution legalised and has a bill before parliament to outlaw smacking.

Now, by opposing these law changes I’m painted as monster who says that whores have no rights and beating children is ok.

And to add to my crimes against humanity I’m now going to drag babies from their convict mothers at the tender age of 6 months.

Well that’s the status quo, but Sue thinks that small children belong in prisons and that their fathers or extended family can’t do as good a job as a mother in lockup can. Already we hear stories of pregnancy being used as a tool for a lighter sentence (by both women and men) – often with a calculated conception after charges have been laid.

Now will we see pregnancy being used as a way to get cushier conditions, for longer in prison?

Bradford’s battling for jail babies

Friday June 16, 2006

Green MP Sue Bradford is seeking political support for a law change which would enable mothers to keep their babies with them in prison until they reach the age of 2.

Under present law, the time limit is six months.

Ms Bradford had her Corrections (Mothers of Babies) Amendment Bill drawn in the private members bill ballot yesterday.

The bill also seeks to secure a mother’s right to breastfeed in prison.

Ms Bradford said that was sought after anecdotal reports that some mothers were denied the right, through disciplinary procedures.

It’s time for the Greens to focus and to have targets that benefit the majority of NZers, or atleast to put the fence at the top of the cliff, not an ambulance at the bottom.

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Sarah King Written by:

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3 Comments

  1. June 29, 2006

    From today’s Herald. It seems a working, tax paying mother needs only 6 weeks maternity leave before the stresses of juggling a baby and a job can be handled with ease. Yet a convicted criminal needs 2 years before a child can be handed over to it’s father.

    Jailed mothers may get to keep their babies longer

    Thursday June 29, 2006
    By Ruth Berry

    In a rare unanimous vote, Parliament last night strongly backed a bill allowing mothers in prison to keep their babies with them until they turn 2.

    Green MP Sue Bradford’s bill now goes to a select committee for public submissions.

    At present mothers can sometimes keep their babies with them in prison self-care units until they reach 6 months.

    Last night Sue Bradford told the House that was far too young for a baby to be removed from its mother.

    “Forcible separation at 6 months is nothing short of barbaric. If a baby is ripped away, the despair and trauma can be devastating.”

    At present there are 13 pregnant women in New Zealand’s prisons.

    The Corrections Department refuses to disclose precisely how many babies are with their mothers behind bars, but says that at any one time between two and five infants are housed in prison.

    Prime Minister Helen Clark yesterday told Radio New Zealand several issues had to be resolved.

    “Are you going to wrench a 2-year-old away from the mother if the mother’s on a life sentence for murder? Is that going to be in the interests of the child? I think there’s those sorts of issues. Are we going to end up having to put childcare centres into our prisons?”

    Ms Bradford says the present law denies mothers the right to breastfeed up to the age of 2, as recommended by the World Health Organisation.

    Most other countries allow babies to stay in prison for longer.

    In Australia the time ranges from one to six years, in Malaysia and Canada it is three years, and in Ireland it’s 18 months.

    National MP Katherine Rich has argued the change is likely to help rehabilitate mothers and lessen recidivism rates. Maternal separation at an early age could also cause long-term difficulties.

    The bill also aims to enshrine the right of mothers to breastfeed their babies.

  2. Dee
    May 2, 2007

    Babies should by no means grow up in prison. I think it should be obvious to most people that babies shouldn’t be in prisons any longer than it is necessary. It is, in fact, dangerous to a certain extent for babies to be living in a prison at all because inmates can kidnap them and harm them in other ways as a way to torment the mother if they bear a grudge against her.

    There are many hard-working, loving, caring people who are eager to foster and/or adopt babies and children. There’s no reason for babies to be in potentially harmful situations.

    It is my strong belief that babies are better off with normal non-jailed people that will care for them and are not necessarily blood-related to them, than being with their mother who is in jail.

    I am a Green Party supporter the majority of the time but I must say that my eyes have been opened to some of the contradictions in their policies recently.

  3. February 16, 2008

    I have some good experience of the prison serve (albeit in the US, and I hasten to add as an employee) and a prison is no place for a child, even if you are talking about an all female prison.

    It’s a ludicrous suggestion that bringing up a child in circumstances such as these can do anything but cause long term harm for the child.

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