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Five mothers incarcerated with babies … 123 women in prisons

By: Rodney Pienaar

The Namibia Correctional Services are currently accommodating five women with babies at their prisons, recent statistics show, while the total female population at the prisons stands at 123.

Statistics indicate that of the female offenders that are incarcerated, a total number four women are foreign nationals while 119 are Namibians.

In total, the prisons are housing 4 184 men and women.

Of the four foreign female nationals incarcerated, one  is Zambian , two are Angolan and another is South African.

Female offenders with babies do not share rooms with other convicts, while the children are also separated from the mothers until they have to be attended to, the NCS said.

 “It is not safe to take young babies away from their mothers since they are too young and are still being breastfed,” NCS said.

According to Clinical Psychologist, Dr Shaun Whittaker, children living in prison will not experience any emotional or psychological effects because their brains are still in a developing stage.

“Women in the correctional facilities are safe and have access to television, it seems like a normal home set up. I think that female correctional facilities compared to men will not have an effect on the babies.”

“They must also build a space where all these babies can play together and bond like in a normal environment. Direct contact with relatives play a more important role in babies’ lives because a bond is built. The prison environment will not have any effect on the babies,” said Dr Whittaker.

Whittaker also said that the state must arrange for these children to receive regular visits from close relatives such as grandparents in order to create a bond.

 Photo: Illustration purposes

Rodney Pienaar

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