Female jail populations are comprised of women at high-risk for an array of psychological and physical health problems. Jails offer an opportune site to deliver clinical health interventions to women who often quickly cycle back into the community. In contrast with prison population studies, many investigators have encountered recruitment problems when attempting to engage the jailed population in clinical research. This study addressed the feasibility of recruiting detained women for eligibility for clinical research. Methods: Commitments to the Women's Facility at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections were chronicled for 40 months, from February 2004 to June 2007. Research staff, working 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, attempted to screen all detained women for a randomized clinical trial. Results: During the 40-month study period, 4,131 individual women had 8,010 commitments to the facility. Staff was able to gain access to nearly 50% of women. Of the inaccessible women, 65% were released in less than 24 hours. In total, 88% of accessed women agreed to be screened for study participation. No significant differences were observed by race/ethnicity or age between women who were screened and those who were not. Conclusions: Clinical research with the female jail population is feasible. The jail setting requires researchers to plan for short-commitment lengths and high rates of recidivism to optimize screening and recruitment in this population.
- Clinical research
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