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Jailcare bookWritten by ARRWIP director Carolyn Sufrin, Jailcare explores the experiences of pregnant people cycling in and out of jails as they carry their pregnancies in a space of punishment. In this time when the public safety net is frayed, incarceration has become a central and racialized strategy for managing the poor. Using her ethnographic fieldwork and clinical work as an ob-gyn in a women’s jail, Sufrin explores how jail has, paradoxically, become a place where women can find care.

Focusing on the experiences of incarcerated pregnant women as well as on the practices of the jail guards and health providers who care for them, Jailcare describes the contradictory ways that care and maternal identity emerge within a punitive space presumed to be devoid of care. Sufrin argues that jail is not simply a disciplinary institution that serves to punish. Rather, when understood in the context of the poverty, addiction, violence, and racial oppression that characterize these women’s lives and their reproduction, jail has, tragically and problematically, become a safety net for women on the margins of society.

PIPS Publications

Contraception, Abortion, and Incarceration

Sufrin CB, Creinin MD. Incarcerated Women and Abortion Provision: A Survey of Correctional Health Professionals, and Chang JC.  . Perspectives in Sexual and Reproductive Health. 2009 Mar; 41(1): 6-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1931-2393.2009.4110609.

Sufrin CB, Creinin MD, and Chang JC.  Contraception Services for Incarcerated Women: A National Survey of Correctional Health ProvidersContraception. 2009 Dec; 80(6): 561-5. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2009.05.126

Sufrin CB, Tulsky JP, Goldenson J, Winter KS, Cohan D.  Emergency Contraception for Newly Arrested Women: Evidence for an Unrecognized Public Health Opportunity.  Journal of Urban Health. 2010 Mar; 87(2): 244-253. doi: 10.1007/s11524-009-9418-8

LaRochelle F, Castro C, Goldenson J, Tulsky J, Cohan D, Blumenthal P, Sufrin CB. Contraception Use and Barriers to Access among Newly Arrested Women. Journal of Correctional Health Care. 2012 Apr; 18(2): 111-9. doi: 10.1177/1078345811435476

Schonberg D, Bennett AH, Sufrin C, Karasz A, Gold M. Contraception in Jail: What women want: A qualitative study of contraception in jail. American Journal of Public Health. 2015; 105(11):2269-74. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.30276.

Sufrin C, Oxnard T, Goldenson J, Simonson K, Jackson A. Long-acting, reversible contraception for incarcerated women: Feasibility and safety of on-site provision. Perspectives in Sexual and Reproductive Health. 2015; 47(4) 203-211. doi: 10.1363/47e5915

Ti A, Burns R, Barnert E, Sufrin C, Dehlendorf C.  Perspectives on patient-centered family planning care from incarcerated girls: a qualitative study. Journal of Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology. 2019 Oct; 32(5): 491-498. doi: 10.1016/j.jpag.2019.05.013.  

Sufrin, C. When the Punishment is Pregnancy: Carceral Restriction of Abortion in the U.S. Cultural Anthropology. 2019; 34(1): 34-40.

Suresh S, Questall L, Sufrin C. Access to Reproductive Health Care in Juvenile Justice Facilities. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. 2020 Jun;33(3):296-301. doi: 10.1016/j.jpag.2019.11.005.

Gips J, Psoter K, Sufrin C. Does distance decrease healthcare options for pregnant, incarcerated people? Mapping the distance between abortion providers and prisons. Contraception. 2020 Apr; 101(4): 266-272.  doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2020.01.005.

Cheedalla A, Sufrin C. Contraception Policies in United States Jails, Prisons, and Juvenile Detention Systems: A National Sample. Journal of Correctional Health Care. In press.

Pregnancy and Parenting and Incarceration

Goshin LS, Sissoko DRG, Neumann G, Sufrin C, Byrnes L. Perinatal Nurses’ Experiences With and Knowledge of the Care of Incarcerated Women During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing. 2019 Jan;48(1):27-36. doi: 10.1016/j.jogn.2018.11.002.  

Sufrin, C. Making Mothers in Jail: Carceral Reproduction of Normative Motherhood. Reproductive Biomedicine & Society. 2018; 13(7): 55-65. doi: 10.1016/j.rbms.2018.10.018

Goshin LS, Sissoko DRG, Stringer KL, Sufrin C, Byrnes L.  Stigma and US Nurses’ Intentions to Provide the Standard of Maternal Care to Incarcerated Women, 2017. American Journal of Public Health. 2020 Jan;110(S1):S93-S99. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2019.305408.   

Asiodu IV, Beal L, Sufrin C Breastfeeding in Incarcerated Settings in the United States: A National Survey of Frequency and Policies. Breastfeeding Medicine. In press. DOI: 10.1089/bfm.2020.0410

Substance Use Disorder in Pregnancy and Incarceration

Peeler M, Terplan M, Fiscella K, Sufrin C. Best Practices for Incarcerated Pregnant women with Opioid Use Disorder. Journal of Correctional Health Care. 2019 Jan;25(1):4-14. doi: 10.1177/1078345818819855

Sufrin C,  Sutherland L, Beal LS, Terplan MK, Latkin C, Clarke JG. Opioid Use Disorder Incidence and Treatment Among Incarcerated Pregnant People in the U.S.: Results from a National Surveillance Study. Addiction.  2020 Nov. 115(11): 2057-2065. doi: 10.1111/add.15030.

Ahlbach C, Sufrin C, Shlafer R. Care for Incarcerated Pregnant People With Opioid Use Disorder: Equity and Justice Implications. Obstet Gynecol. 2020 Sep;136(3):576-581. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000004002

King Z, Kramer C, Latkin C, Sufrin C. Access to Treatment for Pregnant Incarcerated People with Opioid Use Disorder: Perspectives from Community Opioid Treatment Providers. J Subst Abuse Treat. In press.


Bronson J and Sufrin C. Pregnant Women in Prison and Jail Don’t Count: Data Gaps on Maternal Health and Incarceration. Public Health Reports. 2019 May/June. 134(Supplement 1) 57S-62S.

Hayes, C, Sufrin C, Perritt J. Reproductive Justice Disrupted: Mass Incarceration as a Driver of Reproductive Oppressions. American Journal of Public Health. 2020 Jan;110(S1):S21-S24. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2019.305407.

Golembeski CA, Sufrin CB, Williams B, Bedell PS, Glied SA, Binswanger IA, Hylton D, Winkelman TNA, Meyer JP. Improving Health Equity for Women Involved in the Criminal Legal System. Womens Health Issues. 2020 Sep-Oct;30(5):313-319. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2020.06.007.

Kuhlik L and Sufrin C. “Pregnancy, Systematic Disregard and Degradation, and Carceral Institutions.” Harvard Law and Policy Review. 14(2): 417-466.

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Issues in Science and Technology | COVID-19 and Prisons | Winter 2021

The Washington Post | Nebraska corrections official resigns after inmate is denied abortion, citing ‘shame’ to public service | April 14, 2021

The Lily | A woman gave birth alone in a Kentucky jail. It’s a harrowing example of a bigger problem, experts say | February 24, 2021

The Washington Post | Covid-19 outbreaks at jails and prisons should make us rethink incarceration | June 25, 2020

Politico | How U.S. Prisons Became Ground Zero for Covid-19 | June 25, 2020

Metro Times | Proposed legislation could offer new protections for pregnant prisoners in Michigan | June 3, 2020

The Appeal | Pregnant woman in Pennsylvania jail denied release | May 11, 2020

USA Today | During COVID-19 crisis, prioritize release of pregnant inmates | May 9, 2020

New York Magazine | Cuomo’s Order to Release Pregnant Women From Prison Is a Sham | May 1, 2020

The Washington Post | Opinion: Larry Hogan can lead by addressing covid-19 in prisons and jails | March 25, 2020

Johns Hopkins Magazine | The Invisible Women | Winter 2019

NBC News | New law ends use of restraints on pregnant inmates as advocates push for more to be done | May 25, 2019

The Economist | Why some American states are locking up toddlers | May 23, 2019

UPI | Study: 90 percent of prison pregnancies end in live births | March 22, 2019

Rewire News | First-of-Its-Kind Study Fills in Decades-Long Blank About Pregnancy in Prison | March 21, 2019

NPR | Pregnant Behind Bars: What We Do And Don’t Know About Pregnancy And Incarceration | March 21, 2019

Huffington Post | Breakthrough Study Offers New Stats On Abortion And Birth In Prison | March 21, 2019

Associated Press | Study: About 4 percent of women are pregnant when jailed | March 21, 2019

Johns Hopkins Press Release | First of its Kind Statistics on Pregnant Women in U.S. Prisons | March 21, 2019

The Guardian | ‘I didn’t get arrested, I got rescued’: jail is a lifeline for some pregnant women | August 31, 2018

Rewire | Data Collected in Coordination with PIPS Contributes to Change in Cook County Policies | October 31, 2017

Rewire | ‘What We Do to Women Behind Bars’: A Q&A With ‘Jailcare’ Author Dr. Carolyn Sufrin | June 2, 2017

For a full list of scholarly publications, see PubMed database.