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This paper aims to describe the process to create an inventory of the facilities in Canada designated to incarcerate women and girls, health service responsibility by facility, facility proximity to hospitals with maternity services and residential programmes for mothers and children to stay together. This paper creates the inventory to support health researchers, prison rights advocates and policymakers to identify, analyse and respond to sex and gender differences in health and access to health services in prisons.Design/methodology/approachIn spring 2019, this study conducted an environmental scan to create an inventory of every facility in Canada designated for the incarceration of girls and women, including remand/pretrial custody, immigration detention, youth facilities and for provincial and federal sentences.FindingsThere are 72 facilities in the inventory. In most, women are co-located with men. Responsibility for health varies by jurisdiction. Few sites have mother-child programmes. Distance to maternity services varies from 1 to 132 km.Research limitations/implicationsThis paper did not include police lock-up, courthouse cells or involuntary psychiatric units in the inventory. Information is unavailable regarding trans and non-binary persons, a priority for future work. Access to maternity hospital services is but one critical question regarding reproductive care. Maintenance of the database is challenging.Originality/valueIncarcerated women are an invisible population. The inventory is the first of its kind and is a useful tool to support sex and gender and health research across jurisdictions.
International Journal of Prisoner Health – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 28, 2021
Keywords: Canada; Women’s health; Incarceration; Prisoner health; Maternal health
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