The contraceptive needs of incarcerated women

Academic Article


  • Objectives: We assessed the contraceptive needs of women incarcerated in jails in the southeastern United States to determine feasible and effective birth control interventions based on the needs of this population. Methods: Participants were recruited from local jails around a medium-sized metro area. Participants completed a survey of demographics, sexual health, contraceptive use, and preferred method of contraception. Results: The survey was completed by 188 women in jail. Participants reported high rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) (50.5%), inconsistent use of birth control (36.5%), and use of unreliable and user-dependent methods of birth control. The majority did not desire to become pregnant in the future (61.5%) but intended to have sex after release from jail (76.9%). Women who were able to bear children were more likely to report intentions to use birth control or STD protection after release (77.9%). Additionally, significant racial differences were found. Specifically, nonwhites were more likely to be single and have more STDs and less use of a variety of birth control methods than whites. Conclusions: Women in this sample were at high risk for unplanned pregnancies. Therefore, a primary contraceptive need for this population appeared to be education about longer lasting, user-independent forms of contraception. Many of these women would be ideal candidates for such forms of contraception, especially if it was provided prior to release. © 2009 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hale GJ; Oswalt KL; Cropsey KL; Villalobos GC; Ivey SE; Matthews CA
  • Start Page

  • 1221
  • End Page

  • 1226
  • Volume

  • 18
  • Issue

  • 8