Access to Reproductive Health Care in Juvenile Justice Facilities

Sunitha C. Suresh, Lauren Questell, Carolyn Sufrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Study Objective: The juvenile justice system houses adolescents with unique and unmet reproductive needs, including family planning. The purpose of this study was to identify access to contraceptive counseling and methods for young women in the juvenile justice system. Design: We administered a cross-sectional survey that was used to examine services related to reproductive health care, including contraceptive counseling, and ability to initiate or continue contraceptive methods in custody. Setting: Juvenile justice systems in the United States. Participants: State-level health care administrators in juvenile justice systems. Interventions and Main Outcome Measures: We analyzed responses to determine the ability of young women in custody to continue or initiate specific contraceptive methods, in addition to other measures of reproductive health access. Results: Twenty-one respondents representing systems in 20 US states were included in analysis. All participating sites provided contraceptive counseling and all allowed at least 1 form of preincarceration contraception to be continued. Eighty-one percent (17/21) of systems enabled young women to initiate contraception while in custody, with the most common method available on-site being birth control pills. Twenty percent (4/20) of sites provided long-acting reversible contraceptive methods. Conclusion: This study shows that it is feasible to provide contraception in this setting. However, there exists considerable variability in availability of methods across the United States. Continued work is needed in increasing access to contraception and standardization of care in the juvenile justice system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-301
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of pediatric and adolescent gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Adolescent contraception
  • Juvenile justice
  • Reproductive health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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