Shocked. But Not Surprised.

I’ve been hearing a lot on the radio this week about this Italian woman who is fighting to get her baby back. If you haven’t heard her story, she was seven months pregnant whilst in a psychiatric hospital and one day she was transferred to another hospital without explanation. She asked what was going on and they sedated her. When she woke up, the doctors had performed a Caesarian against her will and they had taken her baby away. Now the baby is to be put up for adoption and she may never see it again.

When I heard the story I was sickened and shocked but, I’m sorry to say, I wasn’t surprised at all. I’ve seen the state come between parents and their children time and again. I know one guy who found himself unable to contact his wife, daughter and step-children because Social Services told his wife that if she had any contact with him at all, they’d take her children from her. I also have another friend who was told by prison staff that he was banned from contacting the mother of his newborn child. There was no court order in place and when he challenged the restriction the prison said it was being put in place because the subject (the mother of his child) had requested it herself. Later on it came to light that this was not true. In fact his child’s Grandmother had phoned the prison and told them not to let him contact her daughter. Despite her daughter being a grown adult and living in her own home, the prison had gladly (and illegally) obliged. If his crime had been against children or against the mother of his child herself I would understand, but I saw his case files and he had done nothing of the sort. This country seems to love coming between parents and their children and yet they repeatedly fail to protect those children who are at risk.

As I grow older and remain in prison I sometimes wish I’d had children before I was locked up. At least then I’d know they were out there, growing up, experiencing life. But then I see how much the guys around me miss their kids ā€“ and how much sorrow their children feel too ā€“ and I feel relieved that I don’t have children yet. Especially given how Social Services treat families these days.

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