17-33 Segment 1: Pregnancy Behind Bars


Thousands of pregnant women pass through our prison system each year. What happens to these ladies when they need the most medical care? We talk with Carolyn Sufrin who describes her experience as an OBGYN for California prison inmates in her book Jailcare: Finding the safety net for women behind bars.

Incarcerated Americans are entitled to proper health care, and Sufrin says that for the most part, they receive any treatment that they need. This “special right” to a kind of health care that is unavailable to many law-abiding citizens raises some controversial questions. Are some inmates purposely committing crimes to get access to the care they need? Sufrin says that while most prisoners do not want to end up in prison, sometimes they desire the stability of prison life to escape their lives on the outside. For pregnant women who live in troubling situations, even a prison cell might be more ideal than the alternative.

Sufrin also talks about the inhumane treatment of pregnant women prisoners that she has witnessed many times during her career, noting that sometimes they are forced to give birth in their jail cells, and those who wear shackles must keep them on through childbirth. Sufrin wants to raise awareness of these serious problems to encourage us to re-evaluate how these women should be treated and to advocate on their behalf.


  • Carolyn Sufrin, medical anthropologist, former OB/GYN at San Francisco Jail, and author of Jailcare: Finding the safety net for women behind bars

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Coming Up On Viewpoints Show 17-33



Pregnancy Behind Bars

After working for years as an OB/GYN for inmates at San Francisco Jail, author Carolyn Sufrin wanted to tell the story of the women she helped. She talks about what health care for pregnant women in jails and prisons looks like, and the changes she hopes to see in the system.

The Struggles of Co-Parenting and Tips on Overcoming Them

Separations and divorces are common in the U.S., and out of those split-ups come children living in two households. We talk to a co-parenting specialist about how the parents’ behavior, ability to compromise, and desire to put the child’s needs above their own, can lead to successful parenting and well-adjusted, happy kids.

17-19 Segment 1: Religion Behind Bars



Since the beginning of the US prison system, religion has been suggested as a way to help rehabilitate criminals. We talk to Tanya Erzen, a professor of religion, about why that is and what role prison ministries play in the lives on inmates.

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