HOW ARE WOMEN’S HEALTH NEEDS MET IN PRISON?
“I came into prison with HIV, and I have had some major concerns that my HIV was somehow no longer being controlled with my meds. Or perhaps I have gotten something else. … I may not understand the purpose for this right now, but I can trust Him with my health and life.”
Incarceration may be a woman’s first time to access health care; thus, health care programs are essential. However, the basic health needs of women are often unmet or restricted, such as access to showers, personal care products, and adequate nutrition for pregnant mothers and women with HIV. (World Health Organization)
Female prisoners are often a higher risk for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases due to high-risk behavior (such as sex work), drugs, and sexual abuse.
OTHER HEALTH STATISTICS
- Incarcerated women are more likely to have a substance abuse problem. Sixty percent of female prisoners held in state prison depend on or are abusing drugs, compared to 53 percent of men. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006)
- In recent studies, 43 percent of incarcerated women reported having been . (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006)
- Medical resources and treatment are limited in many prisons, and for women, this can result in inadequate gynecological care. (Amnesty International)
In addition, 73 percent of women incarcerated in state prisons experience mental health issues compared to 55 percent of men. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006)