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Woman jailed for killing her ex-partner is fighting for her little boy to live behind bars with her.

The toddler’s mother, who can’t be named for legal reasons, is serving a sentence for manslaughter inside the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre in Melbourne, the Herald Sun reports.

The boy currently lives with his paternal grandparents, who argue he should remain in their care and in a family home.

“I can’t even see why the courts are considering putting a little boy in jail,” the boy’s grandfather told 3AW.

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“Why would you want him in a maximum security prison.

“I think I can provide a better life and happy life for the little boy.

“What sort of life is it (in jail) for a 22-month-old?”

The grandparents, who also care for the boy’s older sibling, are arguing the child would miss out on socialising with other children if he was put in jail with his mother.

The boy currently visits his mother, who has been in prison for just over a year, every two weeks.

The mum is arguing that the child should be with her in jail so they can bond.

The maximum security prison in Deer Park currently allows a limited number of special units for mothers imprisoned with their children.

Mothers and Children Program eligibility

Prisoners can apply for the Mothers and Children Program if they are remanded or sentenced to a term of imprisonment at either the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre or Tarrengower Prison.

To be eligible, a prisoner must be:
a mother who was the primary carer of a pre-school child before entering prison, or
a pregnant woman who is due to give birth while in prison.
The child must be under school age to live in the prison.

Mothers who have their child living with them in prison are housed in accommodation that meets acceptable community standards for the safe, and secure housing of children and adequately meets the nutritional, developmental and health needs of the child. Dedicated Mothers and Children Units are available at both the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre and Tarrengower Prison.

Cell accommodation is not appropriate for accommodating a mother and child. As a result some women who reside in particular accommodation units will not be able to have their children reside with them.

Ongoing Support

The Mothers and Children Program has a full-time support worker who is responsible for the administration of the program, including regular monitoring of the safety and wellbeing of all children in the program.

The mothers and children program support worker oversees the delivery of a number of programs to assist prisoners to improve their parenting skills or enhance their confidence as parents. These programs include early childhood health and development. A maternal child health nurse visits both prisons regularly to assist with the nutritional and health requirements of babies and young children.

Do you think little ones should be allowed to stay with their mum in prison?

Share your comments below

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  • If the child is already in a happy and stable environment with their grandparents, they shouldn’t be uprooted to go and live in jail with their mother. They cant gain the proper socialisation and other skills if they are in jail and the impact on the childs wellbeing and development needs to be paramount.

    Reply

  • I agree that tge baby should be with mum, but not in prison. If this mum was thinking of what was best for her baby, she wouldn’t even be trying to get him, she would be happy to leave him with his sibling and grandparents.

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  • i know of cases where the baby has only been allowed to stay in prison while she is breastfeeding, then is released into the custody of family or relatives if possible.
    In one case it was reported in the paper when the Dad gave up his job to take custody of his daughter who needed special needs care.

    Reply

  • I wonder if there was domestic violence involved, the article says the mother has been charged with manslaughter, not murder. Without knowing the why of it I think it’s difficult to gauge whether or not the child should be with her. We don’t know their relationship!

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  • This is such a difficult and complicated issue and I do not know enough about the impacts either way to be able to comment one way or the other. But it has encouraged me to research this further.

    Reply

  • This little one has been apart from his mum for over 12 months, his older sibling is with him at the grandparents, so I don’t think it’s a good idea to place him in prison with his mum. I’m not sure a prison is a healthy environment for kids. Too much could go wrong

    Reply

  • No I don’t agree that he should be allowed to live in jail with his mum. When she killed someone she lost her right to freedom and living with her child.

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  • Jail is no place for a little child. The mother should have thought about this little boy before doing the wrong thing and ending up in jail.

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  • Hard one ! I do think the bonding with mum is very important (not bonding can have a huge impact on the child’s ability to attach, having a massive impact on identity and future relationships), but I also understand that jail isn’t a ideal environment for this child.

    Reply

  • A jail is a rough place not suitable for any toddlers


    • I agree, she should have thought about that before killing someone.

    Reply

  • The rights of the child need to come before that of the mother. The child is already getting to see the mother and staying with family – if they’re in a happy and healthy environment that should be the priority.

    Reply

  • What’s in the child’s best interest has to come first. If she’s going to be imprisoned for years it can’t be in the child’s best interest to remain with her until they go to school. The alternative options available and the seriousness of the offense needs to be considered. Obviously it’s a lot more comfortable for the Mother with the child in prison with them so there needs to be an objective assessment not involving the Mothers opinion on what’s best for the child.

    Reply

  • There are good arguments each way, but I’d probably feel that in most cases, the child should be ith mum.

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  • Could they consider short term stay units for mothers with their children? Surely her toddler could stay with her for a night or two every couple of weeks or once a month or so?

    Reply

  • Not sure. I don’t think I’d like my child to live behind bars, unless a very special accommodation would be offered to mother and child.

    Reply

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