Contraceptive use and barriers to access among newly arrested women

Flynn LaRochelle, Cynthia Castro, Joe Goldenson, Jacqueline P. Tulsky, Deborah L. Cohan, Paul D. Blumenthal, Carolyn B. Sufrin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Incarcerated women report high rates of prior unintended pregnancies as well as low contraceptive use. Because jail could be a site of contraception care, this study aimed to assess women's access to contraception prior to their arrest. A cross-sectional survey was administered to 228 reproductive-aged, nonpregnant women arrested in San Francisco. Twenty-one percent were currently using contraception. More than half (61%) had not used contraception in the last year, yet 11% wanted to have used it. Women in this latter subset reported greater difficulty with payment, finding a clinic, and transportation compared to women who had used contraception. In addition, 60% of all women in the sample would accept contraception if offered to them in jail. Thus, jail is a potentially important and acceptable point of access to contraception, which can circumvent some preincarceration logistical barriers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-119
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Correctional Health Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • contraception
  • correctional health care
  • incarceration
  • jails
  • reproductive health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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