Reproductive Health Concerns among Substance-Using Women in Community Corrections in New York City: Understanding the Role of Environmental Influences

J Urban Health. 2018 Aug;95(4):594-606. doi: 10.1007/s11524-017-0184-8.


Women living in urban settings who are engaged in the criminal justice system are disproportionately affected by HIV and also contend with poor sexual and reproductive health (SRH). While studies have examined environmental influences of HIV, few have examined how these influences relate to poor SRH among this population. We used baseline data from an HIV-risk reduction study among substance-using women with a pregnancy history in community corrections in New York City (N = 299). We examined risk environment factors typically associated with HIV, and SRH outcomes of abortion, and miscarriage. We used logistic regression models to examine associations between risk environment factors with SRH outcomes. Most women identified as black and ranged in age from 18 to 62. Approximately half had miscarriages and/or abortions in their lifetime. Few women used birth control despite not wanting children in the future. While most women faced high rates of environmental influences of HIV risk, only intimate partner violence (IPV) was associated with SRH outcomes. Women experiencing IPV were significantly more likely to report both miscarriage and abortion. Community corrections present a unique opportunity for intervention around HIV risk reduction and SRH outcomes, given that effective programming for each often requires multiple and formal contacts with health providers.

Keywords: Criminal justice; HIV; Intimate partner violence; Reproductive health; Risk environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Drug Users / psychology*
  • Drug Users / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City
  • Peer Influence*
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Prisoners / statistics & numerical data*
  • Reproductive Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Women's Health / statistics & numerical data*