Adverse effects of US jail and prison policies on the health and well-being of women of color

Am J Public Health. 2002 Dec;92(12):1895-9. doi: 10.2105/ajph.92.12.1895.


In the past few decades, US policies have led to an unprecedented increase in the number of people behind bars. While more men than women are incarcerated, the rate of increase for women has been higher. Evidence of the negative impact of incarceration on the health of women of color suggests strategies to reduce these adverse effects. Correctional policies contribute to disparities in health between White women and women of color, providing a public health rationale for policy change. Specific roles for health professionals include becoming involved in alliances addressing alternatives to incarceration, creating programs that address the needs of women in correctional facilities, and identifying the pathways by which correctional policies damage health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • African Americans
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Ethnic Groups*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prisoners*
  • Prisons / organization & administration*
  • Prisons / standards
  • Public Health Practice / standards*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Women's Health*