Kids can accompany mothers to New Zealand jails

August 1st, 2010 - 12:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Auckland, Aug 1 (IANS) Children up to two years old will now be allowed to live with their mothers behind bars in New Zealand.
Women’s prisons in Christchurch and Auckland are upgrading their facilities to comply with the law passed in 2008. Babies less than nine months, however, will not be allowed to be kept in prison cells but will stay with their mothers in separate units, the Dominion Post reported.

Implementing the legislation in the women’s prisons was delayed to allow the corrections department to “toddler-proof” the units. This will be done in Auckland by October and in Christchurch by the end of the year, officials said.

The Christchurch prison runs a welfare scheme with the community-funded Family Help Trust, teaching prison mums parenting skills and offering support on their release, Wayne McKnight, prison manager, said.

The mothers must be assessed and agree to take part in the education programme before they are allowed to have children with them, and officials say it rehabilitates mothers and lessens the risk of re-offending.

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