Research Article
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Published Online: 11 August 2009

The Contraceptive Needs of Incarcerated Women

Publication: Journal of Women's Health
Volume 18, Issue Number 8

Abstract

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.

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Information & Authors

Information

Published In

cover image Journal of Women's Health
Journal of Women's Health
Volume 18Issue Number 8August 2009
Pages: 1221 - 1226
PubMed: 19630555

History

Published online: 11 August 2009
Published in print: August 2009
Published ahead of print: 24 July 2009

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Affiliations

Galen J. Hale
University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama.
Krista L. Oswalt
University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama.
Karen L. Cropsey
University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama.
Gabriella C. Villalobos
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.
Sara E. Ivey
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.
Catherine A. Matthews
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.

Notes

Address correspondence to:
Galen J. Hale, M.A.
University of Alabama at Birmingham, Psychiatry
401 Beacon Parkway West
Birmingham, AL 35209
E-mail: [email protected]

Disclosure Statement

The authors have no conflicts of interests to report.

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