Department of Corrections
DOC Launches Pregnancy-Screening Program for Jail Inmates
Frankfort, KY – In an effort to provide better prenatal care to inmates, the Kentucky Department of Corrections launched a pregnancy screening program a few months ago that officials say already is having a significant and positive impact.
Jailers in Kentucky were notified in September that the Department was requiring and paying for the pregnancy test of every female state inmate that was of child bearing age. Now, if that test is positive, the woman is transferred quickly to the Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women to ensure they receive proper prenatal care.
According to DOC Medical Director Dr. Scott Haas, the screening program was Corrections Commissioner John Rees’ idea. “He told me his idea and I was able to work with a vendor to get a good price on the tests. The whole plan, from initial discussion to implementation, took less than three months to put into place.”
Since the program began, about 25 women have been transferred into KCIW for prenatal care and to serve their sentences.
“At KCIW, a women’s health practitioner takes care of all the OB patients,” said Haas. ““I believe it is in the best interest of the unborn child, the mother and the Commonwealth to initiate prenatal care to our inmates at the earliest point in their pregnancy. Providing prompt, continuous monitoring and care to our pregnant inmate population decreases complications in high-risk pregnancies and provides the greatest opportunity for a successful, healthy delivery.”
Upon notice to the Department, pregnant inmates in county jails are now transferred to KCIW usually within 14 days. Whey they arrive at KCIW, they receive a comprehensive health appraisal from the women’s health practitioner.
“Regardless of how you feel about the rights of the incarcerated, these unborn children did nothing wrong and doing what we can to ensure their health and the health of their mothers is just simply the right thing to do,” said Rees.