In a report, Reproductive Health Locked Up: An Examination of Pennsylvania Jail Policies, the American Civil Liberties Union says Pennsylvania jails “are not meeting the reproductive health needs of incarcerated women,” reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Jails built largely for men face a changing demographic: The rate of incarceration among women has increased twice as much as that for men since 1977, says the Institute on Women and Criminal Justice.
That’s driven largely by a steep increase in drug charges against women. More than half of women in prisons are there for drug or property crimes. Health care for women at the Allegheny County Jail has come under criticism. Amy Lynn Gillespie, a 27-year-old pregnant inmate, died in 2010 after her pneumonia was misdiagnosed, charges a federal lawsuit filed by her mother. “We’re open enough to say, ‘How can we do better,'” said Bruce Dixon, director of the Allegheny County Health Department, which created the nonprofit agency that handles health care at the jail.