Study Finds About 4 Percent of Women Are Pregnant When Jailed

A study published in The American Journal of Public Health on Thursday found that about 4 percent of women who were currently incarcerated in state prisons in the United States were pregnant when they were first admitted. While overall prison rates have declined, the number of incarcerated women has been increasing at about a rate of 800 percent. The study found that in a single year out of the 56,262 women included in the study, imprisoned women had 752 live births, 46 miscarriages, four stillbirths, and 11 abortions. Despite the increasing female population in prisons, there is a severe lack of research on women’s health and no procedure in place to track pregnancies within prisons. Researchers hope that the new data will urge legislators to address incarcerated women’s health. Pregnant prisoners in US prisons and jails face harsh and sometimes dehumanizing treatment. These women often struggle to access physical and mental health care. In many states, it is common practice to shackle female prisoners while they are in labor or even while they are giving birth regardless of whether or not the inmate has a history of violent behavior. This practice of shackling pregnant women furthers the trauma incarcerated women […]

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