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Reproductive health needs of recently incarcerated youth during community reentry: a systematic review
  1. Elizabeth Barnert1,
  2. Ava Sun1,
  3. Laura Abrams2,
  4. Paul J Chung1
  1. 1 Department of Pediatrics, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA
  2. 2 Department of Social Welfare, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Elizabeth Barnert, Department of Pediatrics, University of California, Los Angeles 10955 Le Conte Ave 12-353 MDCC 90095, California, USA; ebarnert{at}


Background Youth involved in the juvenile justice system have high reproductive health needs and, on exiting detention, face the challenging transition of reentry. We conducted a systematic literature review to describe what is known about youths’ reproductive health needs during community reentry after incarceration.

Methods We searched PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar for articles containing key words with the concepts ‘child or adolescent’, ‘incarcerated’ and 'reentry'. In the search, we defined the concept of ‘reentry’ as within 1 month prior to release (to include interventions involving pre-release planning) and up to 18 months after release from incarceration.

Results Our search yielded 2187 articles. After applying all exclusion criteria, 14 articles on reproductive health remained for extraction. The articles provided data on the following aspects of youths’ reproductive health: frequency of condom use (eight articles), sexual risk behaviours other than lack of condom use (seven articles), and prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (three articles).

Conclusions The literature on the reproductive health needs of youth undergoing reentry is extremely limited. Current intervention studies yield mixed but promising results and more intervention studies that address both pre-release reentry planning and the post-incarceration period are needed. Given incarcerated youths’ well-documented reproductive health disparities compared with non-incarcerated adolescents, the identified gaps represent important opportunities for future research and programmatic emphasis.

  • juvenile justice
  • incarcerated youth
  • reentry
  • reproductive health

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  • Contributors EB, AS, LA and PLC collaborated on all aspects of the review including, design, search strategy, extraction, interpretation, and preparation of the manuscript. EB and AS conducted the extraction process.

  • Funding The study was funded by UCLA CTSI KL2 Program/NIH-NCATS (#ULTR00124) and by the UCLA Children’s Discovery and Innovation Institute.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.