Forgotten Fundamentals: A Review of State Legislation on Nutrition for Incarcerated Pregnant and Postpartum People

Julia Vitagliano, Talia Shalev, Jennifer B. Saunders, Ellen Mason, Jamie Stang, Rebecca Shlafer, Bethany Kotlar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Adequate nutritional intake during pregnancy is critical to infant health and development. People with the capacity for pregnancy who are incarcerated have limited control over their diets and rely on prisons and jails to meet their nutritional needs. This study examined state and federal statutes pertaining to nutrition care for pregnant people while incarcerated. Following a systematic search and review, we identified four qualitative codes relating to access to vitamins, supplemental food, additional hydration, and prenatal nutrition education. Summaries of state and federal statutes pertaining to nutrition were developed and compared with current prenatal nutrition recommendations. Less than a third of states had nutrition-related mandates and no states had statutes that included all key nutrition recommendations. No federal statutes addressed nutrition during pregnancy. Additionally, our review found no provisions for enforcement of the limited nutritional statutes that do exist. To mitigate adverse health consequences for pregnant people and their fetuses, policymakers should enact or amend legislation to align nutrition standards in all prisons and jails with national policy recommendations and provide mechanisms to oversee compliance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-130
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Correctional Health Care
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright 2024, The Author(s) 2024.

Keywords

  • correctional health care
  • nutrition
  • policy
  • pregnancy
  • prenatal

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Review
  • Journal Article

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