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Student Project: Medical Care for Female Prisoners in the United States: Introduction

This guide provides helpful links to understanding some of the medical concerns facing female prisoners in the United States of America.


This research guide deals with and includes:

  • General standards of prisoner care via the Eighth Amendment and Estelle v. Gamble
  • Motherhood (including pre-natal and post-partum care and delivery)
  • Access to feminine hygiene products
  • The guide also provides additional research information in the form of books, treatises, law review articles, journal entries, blogs, and more.

It does not address contraceptives, abortion, mental health or addiction issues.

Further, most information found in this guide deals with federal policies and regulations.

Related Research Guides


All prisoners deserve adequate medical care, but women, in particular, have unique needs that must be addressed. A woman can enter into prison at almost any phase in her life, so correctional facilities should be prepared to provide the proper care and services.

Protection of Women in Prisons Act of 1999 - H.R.3920, 106th Cong. (1999)

Bill Text

Legislative History

Although this Act "died" in a previous Congress, it attempted to better address the medical needs of female prisoners. In part, it sought to prohibit the use of shackles on pregnant women, unless absolutely necessary. The Act also asked States to provide documentation that jails and other correctional sites were complying with correctional health standards, and were contracting with outside correctional health care organizations to consistently monitor and assess the standards inside the facilities.

About the Author

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Danielle Abtahi
Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University

J.D. Expected May 2019


  • (Female) Inmate/ prisoner
  • (Women's) Correctional Facility
  • Prison/jail
  • Eighth Amendment
  • Deliberate Indifference
  • Prison physician
  • Prison nurse
  • Healthcare/ Health care
  • Medical care
  • Correctional health
  • Birth
  • Delivery
  • Pregnancy/ Pregnant
  • Post-partum/ postpartum
  • Pre-natal/ prenatal
  • Shackle(s)
  • Feminine Hygiene
  • Sanitary Pad
  • Tampon
  • Menstruation/ Menstrual