Contraceptive needs of women incarcerated at Rikers Island jail complex
Awarded 2011
Complex Family Planning Fellowship Research
Dana Schonberg, MD, MPH
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Objectives: Incarcerated women experience high rates of unintended pregnancy and many are interested in starting a form of birth control. Despite this contraception is not routinely available at jails and prisons. This study was undertaken to understand women’s perceptions of receiving contraception at Rikers Island Jail.
Methods: In depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with women of reproductive age incarcerated at Rikers Island Jail.
Results: Although all women wanted contraception provided at the jail, many would not use those services themselves. Women had negative opinions about the health care and medical providers at the jail. Women had fears about the safety of birth control and special concerns about LARC. Many were uncertain about their ability to follow up in the community to start a method, continue a method, or end a method, specifically to remove a LARC device.
Conclusion: Contraception at the jail must be provided within a reproductive justice framework, by trusted medical providers providing high quality care, and with the goal of allowing women to control their own fertility, ensuring that women can access birth control and cease using birth control when desired.