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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98282 Find in a Library
Title: Infants and Aboriginal Women in Prison (From Women in the Prison System - Proceedings, P 163-169, 1984, Suzanne Hatty, ed. - See NCJ-98278)
Author(s): R Donnelly
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: Australian Institute of Criminology
Canberra ACT, 2601, Australia
Sale Source: Australian Institute of Criminology
GPO Box 2944
Canberra ACT, 2601,
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: The presence of Aboriginal women in Australian prisons raises prison policy and management questions regarding their children.
Abstract: Based on the 1983 annual census of prisoners, it was found that 399 women were imprisoned throughout Australia. Of these 48, or 12 percent, were Aboriginal women. These statistics reveal that the rate of imprisonment for Aboriginal women is slightly higher than that for Aboriginal men. One of the most controversial aspects of all women in prison relates to their children. Not until 1978 were legislative provisions made in the Northern Territory to allow mothers to have their children accompany them when imprisoned. The same provision ensures that a pregnant mother shall, wherever possible, be taken to a hospital outside a prison for the birth of her child. However, problems arise when it has to be decided whether or not a mother should be allowed to keep her child with her. Other factors to be considered in making the decision to keep the child with the mother relate to availability of relatives, the age and health of the child and mother, and conditions existing within the prison. It is recommended that in all cases, the welfare of the child must take precedence over that of the mother. The safety of the child in the prison must be guaranteed. Finally, unresolved legal problems exist concerning whether prison officers have the authority to control a child that has misbehaved. Tabular data are presented.
Index Term(s): Aborigines; Australia; Child care services; Children of incarcerated offenders; Female inmates; Women's correctional institutions
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