Perceptions of long-acting reversible contraception among women in an urban U.S. jail



      Given incarcerated women's lack of access to contraception prior to, during, and post-incarceration and concerns of potential reproductive coercion in correctional settings, the objective was to explore incarcerated women's perspective of making provider-controlled methods of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) available in an U.S. urban jail.

      Study design

      Using a concurrent mixed-methods approach, we explored contraceptive use and method choice prior to and after incarceration among women detained in a U.S. urban jail. Focus group discussions primarily focused on incarcerated women's perceptions of LARC.


      In the 30 days prior to arrest, 28 of 116 women (24%) were using a non-barrier contraceptive method. Methods of LARC were used the least, and the majority (n = 74, 64%) were not interested in initiating LARC in jail. Concern about the potential side effects of LARC was the main reason for disinterest followed by distrust in correctional health care staffs’ qualifications. Study participants did not reference coercion as a concern.


      Apprehension about the training of health care providers and cleanliness of the detention facility outweighed participants’ concerns regarding autonomy restrictions associated with provider-controlled methods of LARC. Despite limited interest in initiating LARC use while incarcerated, participants supported making all forms of contraception more accessible in jail settings.


      Understanding incarcerated women's reproductive and contraceptive desires, including their perceptions of LARC, will help improve the provision of equitable reproductive health care in correctional settings. Our findings highlight the importance of contextual factors in determining women's willingness to access contraceptive care in carceral settings, if available.


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