University of Hertfordshire

What is the experience of the pregnant prisoner? Access and Negotiation

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2015
EventHealth and We - The Royal Holloway, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Sep 2015 → …


ConferenceHealth and We
CountryUnited Kingdom
Period11/09/15 → …


What is the experience of being a pregnant prisoner? Access and negotiation

To answer my research question I needed a way to access the prison system. From the outset, barriers seemed impenetrable to a setting where I was unfamiliar. I slowly built up a network of contacts who work with pregnant prisoners. I trained to become a “Birth Companion” providing antenatal, birth and postnatal support to women in prison. Through travelling, meeting key gatekeepers and hard work I have gone from a blank page to supporting a number of pregnant women and young mothers, in a variety of ways. This presentation will focus on the skills and attributes a researcher requires to reach the unreachable and gain access to somewhere wholly unfamiliar.

The overall aim of this study is to understand women’s experiences of being pregnant in prison. There is very little qualitative research undertaken in this area and institutional ethnography is the methodology that will be used. The environment is central to the research and in depth interviews with women and staff will help to answer my research question. Reflexivity of the setting will inform the experience. Observation of the prison as a society for women will give meaning to the sociology of the environment. Careful ethical consideration is required due to working with vulnerable women as well as issues around coercion, consent and safety of self physically and emotionally. Previous studies have looked at physical outcomes, my study will illuminate women’s' voices. This research will inform policy and professional organisational planning for delivery of care for pregnant women in prison.

ID: 9228858