Women behind bars: Health needs of inmates in a county jail

Alexandra Fickenschkr, Jodi Lapidus, Pat Silk-Waikkr, Thomas Bkcker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Objectives. This study was performed to assess the prevalence of behavioral risk factors and correlates of poor self-reported health among incarcerated women in a county jail in Oregon. Methods. The authors collected self-reported data from recently incarcerated women at a county jail, focusing on prevalence of high-risk health behaviors, history of health care use, history of physical and sexual abuse, and health care coverage. The authors assessed factors associated with poor self-reported health using logistic regression techniques. Results. More than half of the participants reported a history of intravenous drug use, 67% reported a history of sexual abuse, 79% reported a history of physical abuse, and 43% stated that they had a history of trading sex for money or drugs. Two factors were associated with poor self-reported health: history of physical assault (odds ratio [OR] = 2.7; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.4, 5.2) and use of heroin during the month prior to arrest (OR = 2.9; 95% CI 1.3, 6.6). Conclusions. The high prevalence of health risk behaviors among the inmates suggests a number of areas for intervention. These findings may also be used to guide topics addressed during intake interviews of new inmates, and to help identify inmates that require additional medical or social services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-196
Number of pages6
JournalPublic health reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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