Female Prisoners in India and Procedure for Childbirth in Prison
According to report by National Crime Report Bureau, on Prison Statistics India–2018 , they are around 19,242 Female prisoners in India out of 4,66,084 total prisoners. The highest number of women in prison are in Uttar Pradesh (3,533), followed by West Bengal (1,506), Maharashtra (1,336) and Madhya Pradesh (1,322).
There are around 24 Women Jails in India out of 1339 jails which are further classified into Sub jails, District Jails, Central Jails, Open Jails, Special Jails, Women Jails, Borstal Schools and other than the above jails.
There were 1,732 women prisoners with 1,999 children as on 31st December, 2018. Among these women prisoners, 1,376 women prisoners were undertrial prisoners who were accompanied by 1,590 children and 355 convicted prisoners who were accompanied by 408 children.
In terms of Pregnancy and Childbirth in Prison there should be strict compliance with the Model Prison Manual 2016 and arrangements are to made for temporary release for delivery of children in hospital outside the prison.
Suspension of sentence may also be considered in case of casual offenders.
Information about a woman’s pregnant status should also be made to the Court that has ordered the detention, to enable the Court to grant bail (where appropriate) or modify the detention order as deemed necessary.
The birth certificate of a child born to a woman in prison should not mention the prison as place of birth to protect them against social stigma.
Pregnant/lactating women, or women who have recently undergone abortion or miscarriage, should receive a special diet. They must also receive advice on their health and diet under a programme to be drawn up by a qualified health practitioner.
Medical and nutritional needs of women prisoners who have recently given birth whose babies are not with them in prison, shall be included in treatment programs.
Inmates will not be discouraged from breastfeeding their children.
Instruments of restraint, punishment by close confinement or disciplinary segregation shall never be used on pregnant and lactating women.
Mothers in postnatal stage should be allowed separate accommodation to maintain hygiene and protect their infant from contagion, for at least a year after childbirth.
Women prisoners must have access to urine pregnancy test kits, as per their requirement, free of cost.
Pregnant women must be provided information and access to abortion during incarceration, to the extent permitted by law.
Pregnant and lactating women must be given the choice of taking up work subject to suitability to their health so as to ensure their income generation is not entirely halted.
Aadhar cards must be made for all inmates, especially for mothers and infants to enable them to become beneficiaries of various government welfare schemes.
Source: "Pregnancy and Childbirth in Prison", Page 32, Website: https://wcd.nic.in/sites/default/files/Prison%20Report%20Compiled.pdf
Source: "Women in Prisons", Website: https://vikaspedia.in/social-welfare/women-and-child-development/women-development-1/women-in-prisons
Source: "Number of Women Prisoners Admitted with Children during 2018" Website: https://data.gov.in/catalog/prison-statistics-2018
Source: " Prison Statistics India–2018" Website: https://ncrb.gov.in/sites/default/files/Executive-Summary-2018.pdf