13 Aug Problems faced by pregnant women in correctional homes
A worldwide survey of prevailing conditions
Pregnancy is a time of joy for most women in the world. But what if the news came to a woman who knows that her next few years are to be spent incarcerated?
In a statistical survey, it has been found that 6 out of 10 women in correctional homes worldwide have gone through pregnancies while incarcerated. Out of them, around 60% arrive at the correctional homes while they are pregnant. The health conditions that prevail at a prison are certainly not ideal for a woman about to give birth but that is certainly just the beginning of a long list of problems that await these soon to be mothers.
Another health survey has discovered that 90% of the women being incarcerated have either faced homelessness, poverty, substance abuse, mental problems, physical or sexual abuse or a combination of all of the above which make them candidates with very little access to good healthcare and the perfect targets for factors that are detrimental to their health. The added derogatory health conditions that prevail in jail make it worse for women undergoing pregnancy.
This is a problem that has faced a lot of debates and consequently, a lot of laws have been considered and put into place by different countries and states. One such law makes it compulsory to provide prenatal health care to these mothers and hygienic conditions for delivery and aftercare of the pregnancy. While this certainly benefits some women who would never have access to the medicine and the regular meals that prison provides them, often these laws aren’t implemented properly amongst the inmates who need it the most.
Since the pregnant women in question are inmates at correctional homes certain factors are overlooked by management. A survey noted that
· Pregnant women aren’t offered higher nutrition to keep up with the needs that they face from growing another life inside of them.
· The pregnant women in jail are asked to perform the same rigorous duties and tasks as the other inmates which consist of physical labor that can considerably harm their baby.
· Medical care and protection from inmate violence are rare and almost 78% of prisons worldwide do not have any precautions in place to assist any incarcerated prisoner going into labor before delivery.
· Reports and surveys indicate that pregnant prisoners opting for abortion within the safe period are denied the medical resources to do so at 80% of prisons worldwide.
Pregnant women in jail fall under the grey area where not much reform has occurred over the years. In most countries, children born in prison are treated as prisoners themselves and their births remain undocumented and unreported. Along with this, pregnant women are often shackled and chained as per normal prison norms which can harm the health of both mother and child in physical and mental ways.
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