Page 1: PARTICIPANT INFORMATION SHEET

WHY ARE PREGNANT WOMEN IN PRISON: ON REMAND, ON RECALL OR ON SENTENCE

  PARTICIPANT INFORMATION SHEET

Name of Researchers:

Rona Epstein   Honorary Research Fellow. Coventry University.

Dr Geraldine Brown, Assistant Professor, Coventry University 

 You have been invited to take part in a research study.  Before you decide whether to take part it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve.  Please take time to read the following information carefully and discuss it with friends and relatives if you wish to.   Ask us if there is anything that is not clear or if you would like more information.  Take time to decide whether you wish to take part or not.  Thank you for reading this and for your time – it is much appreciated.

 

 What is the purpose of the study?

 The aim of this study is to find out why pregnant women spend time in prison, on remand, on recall from licence conditions and on sentence.

In this this questionnaire we will ask about:

A. Court records

We want to know why you were in prison. The only way we can find out why that happened is if we go back to the court records. With your name, the date of the court hearing and the name of the court we can find out what the judge said when they decided on a prison sentence. In a magistrates court, the date of the hearing and the name of the court can lead us to a record of what the magistrates said and why they decided to remand you in custody or to impose a prison sentence.

With this information, we will try to obtain the records from the court and we will then study these records to see how the judge or magistrates made their decision. They may not have considered the option of suspending a prison sentence; perhaps they didn't take into account that you were pregnant or had young children at home; they may not have considered a community punishment instead of imprisonment. Our research should lead to a better understanding of how it happens that women are sent to prison, so we can argue for changes, and we hope that fewer women will be sent to prison in the future.  

B. Your health and family circumstances.

C. Your experience of being pregnant in prison.

D. The birth of your baby.

E. Your return home. 

Recent reports have indicated that at any one time about 50 pregnant women are in prison, some are on remand, some have been recalled while on probation licence, some have been sentenced.  We know that very few women commit violent offences or are a serious risk to the public. So that is why we have set out to discover why pregnant women are in our prisons. No research has ever been done to ask this question. This is the time to do this in view of the tragic death of a baby born in a cell in Bronzefield Prison in September 2019. Many investigations into this event have been set up: but not one of them has asked why this mother was on remand in prison.

Why have I been chosen to take part?

You are invited to participate in this study because you have replied to our request for women who have been pregnant in prison to tell us about this.

What are the benefits of taking part?

By sharing your experiences with us, you will be helping the two researchers, Rona Epstein and Geraldine Brown of Coventry University, to better understand why pregnant women, who are known to be vulnerable because of pregnancy, are in prison, on remand, on sentence or on recall. When we understand why this happens we can work with organisations to argue for change. Our aim is to have no or fewer pregnant women sent  to prison.

Are there any risks associated with taking part?

This study has been reviewed and approved through Coventry University’s formal research ethics procedure. We understand that being in prison is a very emotional and difficult experience. So answering our questions about this could be upsetting. We do understand this. Please feel free to share as much or as little as you feel you can.

Trigger warning

The survey involves explaining about your personal situation, your experiences in court and in prison.

Do I have to take part?

No – it is entirely up to you. If you do decide to take part, please keep this Information Sheet and complete the Informed Consent Form to show that you understand your rights in relation to the research, and that you are happy to participate. Please note down your participant number (which is on the Consent Form) and provide this to the lead researcher if you seek to withdraw from the study at a later date. You are free to withdraw your information from the project until the data is fully anonymised in our records on 26th May 2022. 

You should note that your data may be used in the production of formal research outputs (e.g. journal articles, conference papers, theses and reports) prior to this date and so you are advised to contact the university at the earliest opportunity should you wish to withdraw from the study.   To withdraw, please contact the lead researcher (contact details are provided below).  

Please also contact the Research Support Office email researchproservices.fbl@coventry.ac.uk; telephone +44(0)2477658461] so that your request can be dealt with promptly in the event of the lead researcher’s absence.  You do not need to give a reason. A decision to withdraw, or not to take part, will not affect you in any way.

What will happen if I decide to take part?

After this page there is an online questionnaire to complete.  We will give you an email address so you can ask any questions if you wish to do so. The questionnaire should take around 20 to 30 minutes to complete.

Data Protection and Confidentiality

Your data will be processed in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.  All information collected about you will be kept strictly confidential. Until they are fully anonymised in our records, your data will be referred to by a unique participant number rather than by name. If you consent to being audio recorded, all recordings will be destroyed once they have been transcribed. Your data will only be viewed by the research team.  All electronic data will be stored on a password-protected computer file owned by Rona Epstein.  All paper records will be stored in a locked filing cabinet at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience. Your consent information will be kept separately from your responses in order to minimise risk in the event of a data breach. The lead researcher will take responsibility for data destruction and all collected data will be destroyed on or before [26th May 2022.

Data Protection Rights

Coventry University is a Data Controller for the information you provide.  You have the right to access information held about you. Your right of access can be exercised in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018. You also have other rights including rights of correction, erasure, objection, and data portability.  For more details, including the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office, please visit www.ico.org.uk.  Questions, comments and requests about your personal data can also be sent to the University Data Protection Officer - enquiry.ipu@coventry.ac.uk

  What will happen with the results of this study?

The results of this study may be summarised in published articles, reports and presentations.   Quotes or key findings will always be made anonymous in any formal outputs unless we have your prior and explicit written permission to attribute them to you by name.

 The research team will be happy to make the report available to you on request

 Making a Complaint

If you are unhappy with any aspect of this research, please first contact the lead researcher, [Rona Epstein, r.epstein@coventry.ac.uk If you still have concerns and wish to make a formal complaint, please write to Professor Nigel Berkeley

Associate Dean for Research  Coventry University

Coventry CV1 5FB   Email: n.berkeley@coventry.ac.uk

In your letter please provide information about the research project, specify the name of the researcher and detail the nature of your complaint.