Prison mums to keep babies longer

21:06, Sep 20 2011

From tomorrow, Christchurch women prisoners will be able to live with their babies for up to two years as part of a national facilities upgrade.

But the Department of Corrections does not expect a rush of mothers signing up, with just one mother and baby living at Christchurch Women's Prison.

The prison upgraded its mother-and-baby unit to allow for four mothers and babies up to two years old to live together as part of a 2008 law change extending the time a baby can stay with a jailed mother from nine months to two years.

The facility will be opened tomorrow by Corrections Minister Judith Collins.

A department spokeswoman said prisoners had to undergo a rigorous assessment before they would be considered for admission to the unit.

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