Incarceration and Women

Items in the News Archive provide an opportunity to explore issues related to incarceration and health of justice-involved individuals in the United States from a media perspective. Please note that the articles listed below are by no means exhaustive. They represent a collection of relatively recent news items staff deemed relevant to the Center and its work. For more in-depth academic resources related to this topic, please select the corresponding category under the Educational Resources tab.

ACLU Report: California Jails Denying Reproductive Healthcare
Slate, January 19, 2016
“Incarcerated California women are denied abortion services, prenatal care, and even menstrual pads, according to a scathing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of California report released Tuesday that finds some county jails deny, delay, and ignore prisoners’ reproductive health care.”

Take a Valium, Lose Your Kid, Go to Jail
ProPublica, September 23, 2015
“A woman can be charged with chemical endangerment from the earliest weeks of pregnancy, even if her baby is born perfectly healthy, even if her goal was to protect her baby from greater harm. The penalties are exceptionally stiff: one to 10 years in prison if her baby suffers no ill effects, 10 to 20 years if her baby shows signs of exposure or harm and 10 to 99 years if her baby dies.'”

Prison Born
The Atlantic, July/August, 2015
“The vast majority of women who give birth while incarcerated in the United States must hand over their baby within a few hours of delivery, to family, friends, or the foster-care system. For some mothers—even those with short sentences—these separations turn out to be permanent. And with a nearly 800 percent increase in the number of women in custody since the late 1970s, the births are happening on a scale that is hard to ignore.”

Women, Prison And Mental Health – State Deals With A Troubled Population In Its Corrections System
NPR Illinois, June 1, 2015
“In state prisons nationwide, females have a higher rate of mental health problems, 73 percent, as compared with 55 percent among males. Only about of a third of those female prisoners receive treatment. Of those with mental illness, 68 percent reported that they had been physically or sexually abused in the past compared to 36 percent among those without mental illness. Of the mentally ill female prisoners, nearly three-quarters met the criteria for substance dependency or abuse and almost 64 percent had used drugs in the month before their arrest.”