An estimated 58,000 pregnant individuals pass through prisons and jails each year, some giving birth while in correctional facilities. Despite these numbers, there is no set of standards for the care of incarcerated pregnant women.
"We don't have a standard of care we can hold carceral facilities accountable to uphold," said Amy Ard, executive director of Motherhood Beyond Bars, an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization that provides support for infants of incarcerated mothers, and pregnancy and postpartum education.
"That means that wardens, prison clinicians and individual correctional officers get to make it up as they go along, often with absolutely no training or understanding of evidence-based best practices for pregnant people," Ard stated.
"We suspect, based on the reports we receive from incarcerated women and their families, that quite a few have poorly managed care," she said.
Pregnancy outcomes in prison
Due to the lack of standardization of care, pregnancy outcomes are highly variable, explained Carolyn Sufrin, M.D., Ph