Incarcerated Women’s Perceptions of a Reproductive Life-Planning Class: A Qualitative Study

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Peer-Reviewed Article

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The study objective was to qualitatively explore experiences and perceptions of a reproductive life planning (RLP) class among women experiencing incarceration. Twelve focus groups were conducted with a total of 59 women, aged 19–44 (median age of 27). Interview transcripts were analyzed using thematic content analysis methodology. Focus group analysis revealed four primary themes: (a) The RLP class was perceived as acceptable by women in a jail setting, (b) jail provides specific opportunities for an RLP class, (c) receptivity to the RLP class was influenced by an ambivalent attitude toward pregnancy, and (d) women want to learn about the range of contraceptive options by an instructor who is competent and empathic. The jail setting is an acceptable and valuable location for educating women about reproductive life planning. With basic needs met and negative distractions removed, the RLP class prompts women to reflect on previous and future reproductive choices.


Crystal Hayes is also affiliated with the University of Connecticut School of Social Work.