Infants and young children in prison: a comparative study on the practices in France and Sweden
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Every year, a too important number of children are confronted to prison in one way or another; not because they have been themselves convicted, but because one of both of their parents have been sentence to imprisonment. In this situation, many issues will arise, especially the question of what will happened to the child. Regularly, the younger children will follow their mothers to prison, and live their for a certain amount of time. When this is not allowed, because the child is too old for example, mother and child will be confronted to a traumatic separation. In the best cases, the child will stay with friends, relatives, or their second parent, but too often, social services will take them to foster-care. According to the international and European instruments expressing themselves on the subject, the most important concern should be the best interests of the child. Having an idea of the different practices around the world when confronted to this situation is interesting, in order to analyse how the best interests of the child would be mostly respected. But after examining the two solutions of having the child in jail or not, it seems that a third solution would be best for the child. This third way would be to develop and implement alternatives to prison for pregnant women and mothers of young children; to keep them away from prison so the child could have better chance in life and grow up in an environment has healthy as possible.