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Assessing implementation and provision of family planning services for women incarcerated at Rikers Island Jail Complex

Dana Schonberg, Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Project abstract

Many incarcerated women report interest in starting birth control while in jail or soon after release. Unfortunately, few correctional health facilities routinely provide contraception on-site. In a prior study, members of this research team found that almost all women interviewed at Rikers Island Jail thought contraception should be available at the jail, but many were hesitant about using such services themselves. These findings were used to inform the implementation of family planning services at the women’s facility of Rikers Island in 2014.

Expanding on our earlier research, we propose a qualitative study using in-depth interviews with incarcerated women at Rikers to learn about women’s experiences with these services. These results will allow for a deeper understanding of women’s perspectives in order to improve the quality of care provided at Rikers. Additionally, these findings will lay the groundwork for future research on best practices for providing patient-centered reproductive health care to women involved in the criminal justice system, not only while they are incarcerated, but in the community as well. We will also interview medical providers and staff involved in the implementation and provision of reproductive health services to learn about facilitators and barriers to the development and continuation of services at Rikers with the goal of developing guidance for other correctional facilities interested in offering such services.


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