RCS News

Life of infants residing with their mothers in Prison

Sometimes people are curious about everyday life of children living with their mothers in prison. In fact, it is inevitable for children to live in prisons, for they still need the attention of their mothers.

There are two circumstances that make children live with their mothers in prison: Female prisoners who either get sentenced while pregnant or when their children are under 3 years old. For this reason, they have rights to live with their mothers to benefit from breastfeeding them and the maternal care which are of paramount importance for the harmonious development of the child.

Whenever the children are at 3 years, family members of a detained mother can care for the child because the Rwandan Laws permit the separation of infants from their mothers at years said above.

Ngoma prison is one of the other women prisons in Rwanda that infants below 3 years old are living with their mothers.

Francine MUTUYIMANA, a female inmate, and even a mother who lives with her child in a prison, is clarifying how the child get basic needs though he/she is in a prison.

“Our children have access to healthcare. They get all vaccinations as others living in the community. Indeed, they get a balanced diet, and they get a nursery education.” Francine said. 

Spéciose NYIRARWOGA, a nursery teacher, said that the children are educated about good behavior, songs and other knowledge related to their ages in a kindergarten school.

SSP M. Grace Ndwanyi, the Director of Ngoma Women Prison, explained a lot about the life of children living with their mothers in prison.

She said “We respect children’s rights until they leave to foster families at three years old. All children get access to health care and to the balanced diet so that they grow well both mentally and physically. We’ve provided them a nursery school and entertainment tools that help them to sharpen their mind. In brief, children are treated well in order to prepare his/her future, for they spend little time with prisoners and spend more time studying and entertaining.”

According to the Bangkok rules, children in prison with their mothers shall never be treated as prisoners; women prisoners who have their children with them in prison are to be given the maximum possible opportunities to spend time with their children; and the environment for the children’s upbringing is to be as close as possible to that of a child outside prison.