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Contraception. 2009 Dec;80(6):561-5. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2009.05.126. Epub 2009 Jul 10.

Contraception services for incarcerated women: a national survey of correctional health providers.

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1
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA. sufrinc@obgyn.ucsf.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Incarcerated women have had limited access to health care prior to their arrest. Although their incarceration presents an opportunity to provide them with health care, their reproductive health needs have been overlooked.

STUDY DESIGN:

We performed a cross-sectional study of a nationally representative sample of 950 correctional health providers who are members of the Academy of Correctional Health Providers.

RESULTS:

A total of 405 surveys (43%) were returned, and 286 (30%) were eligible for analysis. Most ineligible surveys were from clinicians at male-only facilities. Of eligible respondents, 70% reported some degree of contraception counseling for women at their facilities. Only 11% provided routine counseling prior to release. Seventy percent said that their institution had no formal policy on contraception. Thirty-eight percent of clinicians provided birth control methods at their facilities. Although the most frequently counseled and prescribed method was oral contraceptive pills, only 50% of providers rated their oral contraceptive counseling ability as good or very good. Contraception counseling was associated with working at a juvenile facility, and with screening for sexually transmitted infections.

CONCLUSIONS:

Contraception does not appear to be integrated into the routine delivery of clinical services to incarcerated women. Because the correctional health care system can provide important clinical and public health interventions to traditionally marginalized populations, services for incarcerated women should include access to contraception.

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