Thursday, June 29, 2006

In which I praise every member of parliament

Don't worry it won't happen often.

Yesterday parliament voted unanimously to send Sue Bradford's Corrections (Mothers with Babies) Amendment Bill to the select committee. At the moment women in prison are able to keep their babies with them until they are six months old; this bill would make it possible for a baby to stay with its mother until they were two years old.

It should suprise no-one that I think this is a good idea (and that it doesn't go far enough since I'm generally against almost everything to do with the 'justice' system) - I'm impressed . A lot of people are calling for 'more information and research'. I can't imagine what research you'd need. All this bill does is mean that the corrections department can allow a seven month old baby to still breast-feed. If you believe that there's even a tiny fraction of situations where the child would be better off with their mother in jail, than with other people outside - you should support the bill.

Talking of private members bills, NZ First, Maori Party and United Future appear to be responding to the union movement's organising against the 90 day bill. Isn't it a shame that the union movement doesn't mobilise similar pressure to actually advance workers rights, even in a relatively minor way such as abolishing youth rates.


  1. It is very rare for any Union to actually act in the best interests of all its members.
    So a shame - but not surprising

  2. I'm delighted that this move was made unanimously, but.. I'm uneasy with a lot of all the "breast is best" propaganda. I'm all for breastfeeding, but the growing pressure for *all* women to do it seems like more evidence that society doesn't trust women to do what's best for their bodies and their babies' bodies. Still, that's another topic, really. Who can argue with legislation that allows babies to be with their mothers? Yay for our government. Now if only they'd do something about the abortion laws and improve parental leave and make things better for workers...

  3. By necessity the "baby friendly cell block" will be of a different nature to the "general cell block".

    the problem is this will cloud any rational individual decision regarding whether they keep their child with them or not (i.e. a child with a perfect home (with loving father and family let's say) on the outside might be rationally offered to the woman in prison in order to make her situation better at a minor cost to the child.

    Having said that, I was convinced by the guy on Newstalk who talked about the additional opportunity to teach these potentially high risk parents good parenting skills in a controlled environment. The remaining issue becomes how well controlled is the environment.

    A prison could become a very bad place to have a baby if proper controls and protections are not in place.