Nowadays, giving birth in prison is a very different experience. Every state and territory has legislation in place to accommodate babies behind bars – although there are limited spaces.
In South Australia, children are allowed to stay until they’re three, but in New South Wales they can stay until they turn six.
The children don’t stay in a cell, they live on prison grounds in a little cottage or unit-type set up with their mum. It looks domestic, not custodial – but the doors are locked.
Pregnant women behind bars still get all the prenatal care they would on the outside, and when it’s time to give birth they are taken to hospital. They are returned to prison with their baby, if the child is well enough to come with them.
As a mum who has been there, Kerry wants us on the outside to remember, it’s not women in prison saying “bring us our kids – we have a right to see them.”
She says the philosophy is more “it’s the right of our children to see their mother.”