THERESA May is set to announce a new 72-hour time limit on the detention of pregnant women in immigration custody.
Mrs May said the Government takes “the welfare of detainees very seriously” Ahead of the announcement.
She said: ”That is why I commissioned Stephen Shaw to carry out an independent review of the welfare of vulnerable people in the detention estate, which was published earlier this year.
“We have listened to him and to others in Parliament and beyond in shaping a humane system that will effectively end the routine detention of pregnant women.
“This new approach and our wider reforms strike the right balance between safeguarding pregnant women and vulnerable people and maintaining effective and proportionate immigration control.”
The reform follows an independent review into the welfare of immigration detainees by Mr Shaw – the former prisons and probation ombudsman.
His report called for a complete ban on the detention of pregnant women in immigration centres such as Yarl’s Wood – of which there is currently no law against.
But under the new proposals, the Home Office would still retain the ability to hold pregnant women for short periods of time.
Anna Musgrave of the Refugee Council said: “It’s disappointing that the Government has chosen to defy the Lords, defy public opinion and defy common sense by choosing to continue imprisoning pregnant women.
“Pregnant women with insecure immigration status are far more likely to die during childbirth or lose their babies than British women.
“Women who already have such high risk pregnancies shouldn’t be detained under any circumstances: there’s absolutely no excuse for compromising the health and well being of a mother and her baby.”
The new legislation will be tabled when the Immigration Bill returns to the House of Commons later this month, and if passed, will commence once royal assent has been given.
Source : Express UK