For the first time recently, effort was made to count the number of women who are pregnant when they enter prison.
A new study released last Thursday states that about 4 percent of women incarcerated in state prisons across the U.S. were pregnant when they were jailed.
And sadly because this population and women’s needs, in general, are not always given a high priority, there had been little data on women’s health and no system for tracking how frequently incarcerated women were pregnant, or what happened to the pregnancies.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics, for example, collects data on deaths in custody but not on births and this is true despite the fact that the number of imprisoned women has risen dramatically over the past decades, growing even as the overall prison rates decline.
That changed recently when Dr. Carolyn Sufrin of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and her team attempted to fill the void by collecting data from 22 state prison systems and 26 federal prisons during a yearlong period in 2016 and 2017.
They released the results in the American Journal of Public Health .
“The fact that nobody had collected this data before signals just how much this population is neglected,” Sufrin said.
This comes at the helm of controversy with Maine lawmaker State Rep Richard Pickett (R) calling a bill to provide free pads and tampons to imprisoned women make jail like “a country club”.
The audacity of someone who has never experience menstruation to consider such products a luxury akin to what one would experience in a rich country club is more than absurd!