Inadequate Access: Reforming Reproductive Health Care Policies for Women Incarcerated in New York State Correctional Facilities
Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems, Vol. 50, No. 1, 2016
51 Pages Posted: 12 May 2016 Last revised: 5 Jan 2017
Date Written: May 11, 2016
In February 2015, the Correctional Association of New York released a report studying the quality of and access to reproductive health care for incarcerated women and found that “[o]verall...reproductive health care for women in New York State prisons is woefully substandard, with women routinely facing poor-quality care and assaults on their basic human dignity and reproductive rights.” The findings of this and other studies provide concrete evidence of the poor quality of reproductive health care available to incarcerated women and signal to legislatures that these policies should be changed.
Incarcerated women face three issues of particular concern relating to reproductive health care: access to gynecological examinations, sanitary supplies, and contraception. The purpose of this Note is to examine New York State policies addressing reproductive health care for incarcerated women, identify problems with them, and make recommendations for reform. This Note will examine current policies and practices of New York State correctional facilities that address gynecological examinations, sanitary supplies, and contraception, and assess why these policies are problematic from both legal and medical perspectives. Furthermore, it will recommend bringing New York’s policies in line with legal, medical, and international standards as a strategy for reform. Finally, it will advocate for using existing federal and state programs including Title X to provide funding for reproductive care both prior to and after release.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation