Expecting Justice

March 26, 2024

Women's Justice Institute and ACLU-IL logos

County jails in Illinois have a number of legal obligations when it comes to providing reproductive health care for the people in their custody and how they treat pregnant and postpartum people.  However, with 102 counties across the state of Illinois, it is difficult to determine whether and how jails are meeting these legal obligations, and whether existing laws are even sufficient to provide appropriate, supportive, and humane care for people incarcerated in Illinois jails.

Recognizing the urgent need to evaluate of the often overlooked conditions for those who are pregnant or postpartum, and others needing reproductive health care, in jails across the state, the ACLU of Illinois has collaborated with the Women’s Justice Institute to produce a report on the status of pregnancy and reproductive health care policies in Illinois county jails.

This report summarizes the responses received to requests made under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act to all 102 counties in the state seeking policies and other information about the provision of reproductive health care and treatment of pregnant and postpartum people in the custody of county jails.  It also includes the stories of a number of individuals who shared their experiences about being pregnant while detained in county jails in recent years.  The report documents that current policies and practices in many counties are inadequate to meet the reproductive health needs of individuals in their custody consistent with legal standards and best practices.