Women in the United States criminal legal (CL) system are at the nexus of several drivers of the COVID-19 pandemic, including incarceration, poverty, chronic illness and racism. There are 1.25 million women incarcerated or on community supervision (probation or parole) in the U.S. We present findings regarding the impact of COVID-19 on women in the CL system (N=344) during the early days of the pandemic. Participants were drawn from community settings in an ongoing study of cervical cancer risk in three U.S. cities: Birmingham, Alabama, Oakland, California and Kansas City, which straddles the states of Kansas and Missouri. Regional differences were found in COVID-19 testing and perceived susceptibility to the virus, but not in COVID-related disruptions to health care. We found differences by race/ethnicity in trusted sources of information about COVID. Black women had higher odds of choosing TV as their most trusted source of information, while White women were more likely to cite government or social service agencies as their most trusted source. Notably, 15% of women said they did not trust any source of information regarding COVID-19. COVID-19 disproportionately impacts populations with high levels of mistrust towards medical and government institutions, a result of the twin legacies of medical mistreatment and structural racism. Our findings underscore the need for innovative strategies to reach these groups with accurate and timely information.
Sources of information and health care experiences related to COVID-19 among women involved in criminal legal system in three U.S. cities
Lorvick, J. J., Hemberg, J., Comfort, M. L., Faust, A., Ramswamy, M., Wickliffe, J., & Cropsey, K. (2020). Sources of information and health care experiences related to COVID-19 among women involved in criminal legal system in three U.S. cities. Archives of Women Health and Care, 3(5). https://doi.org/10.31038/awhc.2020351