Reproductive Rights on Lockdown: A State-‐by-‐State Prison Policy Analysis of Reproductive Rights, Transparency and Access
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This study reports the normative need for transparency of correctional policy relating to pregnancy during incarceration. Today, anyone with a smartphone can access the Internet; it has become the most efficient source of obtaining information. As the number of women, particularly of child-‐rearing age, incarcerated yearly continues to rise, it is becoming more and more apparent through litigation that there are not policies written or accessible to incarcerated women imprisoned in the United States. The literature suggests that written policies are not only needed in correctional institutions, but that there is a documented need for access to reproductive rights and care for incarcerated women. Operating under the normative assumption that transparency and accessibility of governmental information is a democratic good, correctional websites were scanned for policy dictating reproductive rights. According to the policies that are and are not available on each state's corrections website, only a few have explicit policies on accessibility of pregnancy termination for incarcerated women. Upon investigation, the development of these policies appears to be partially due to litigation, instead of solely to the political leanings of state leaders. Transparency of policies enables knowledge of rights and creation of a checks-‐and-‐balances system. Though policies are not perfect, a requirement to post policies in detention centers housing women and on their Department of Corrections website appears to be the best way to ensure knowledge of the policy by inmates, guards, and the public, such as is seen in California.
- MA in Policy Studies