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Government Accountability Office Releases Report On Conditions For Pregnant Women In Department Of Justice Custody

The Government Accountability Office  issued a new report on conditions for incarcerated pregnant women in federal custody.

It's the second of two reports requested by Rep. Raul Grijalva and other members of Congress in 2017.

The report focuses on pregnant women in the custody of the Department of Justice, who are being held by the U.S. Marshals Service or the Bureau of Prisons.

Gretta Goodwin, is a director with the Homeland Security and Justice team at the Government Accountability Office. She says they looked at policies on pregnancy-related care.

"Things like whether the pregnant women are offered mental health services and counseling, whether there are provisions for any type of prenatal care or any type of postpartum care,” she said.

The GAO recommended both agencies align their policies with guidelines created by American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

There are three Bureau of Prison facilities in Arizona that house female offenders — one in Phoenix, and two in Tucson.

Grijalva said the report shows a lack of data and appropriate care for the treatment of incarcerated pregnant women. He called upon the facilities to make immediate improvements.

According to the report, there were at least 1,220 pregnant women in U.S. Marshals Service custody and 524 pregnant women in Bureau of Prisons custody from 2017 to 2019.

Jimmy Jenkins is a senior field correspondent at KJZZ and a contributor to NPR’s Election 2020 and Criminal Justice station collaborations. His work has been featured on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, Here and Now, The Takeaway and NPR Newscasts.Originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, Jenkins has a B.S. in criminology from Indiana State University and a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University.Much of his reporting has focused on the criminal justice system. Jenkins has reported on Tasers, body cameras, use of force, jail privatization, prison health care and the criminal contempt trial of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.