Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
Sufrin’s research interests focus on reproductive health care for incarcerated women and other vulnerable populations. Sufrin started a women’s health clinic at the San Francisco County Jail that continues to provide gynecologic and obstetric care to female inmates. She also serves on the board of the National Commission on Correctional Health Care. Sufrin is a fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and serves on the organization’s Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women. She has served as a technical advisor on local and federal legislation prohibiting the use of restraints on pregnant incarcerated women, as well as on other reproductive health policy interventions affecting this population.
Explores how, in this time when the public safety net is in disarray, and when incarceration has come to be a central strategy for managing the poor, jail has become a safety net. Using ethnographic fieldwork and clinical work as an Ob/Gyn in a women's jail, and focusing on the experiences of pregnant, incarcerated women as well as the practices of the jail guards and health providers who care for them, describes the contradictory ways that care and maternal identity emerge within a punitive space.
Overviews the status of reproductive health care for incarcerated women in the U.S. Provides legal context of the right to health care and right to abortion, along with research showing how the fulfillment of these rights is lacking when it comes to reproductive health for women behind bars. Describes status of prenatal care, shackling of pregnant women, and constraints on pregnancy and childbirth in custody through the lens of reproductive justice.
Argues that it is safe and feasible to provide LARC methods to incarcerated women. Discusses how correctional facilities should consider increasing access to all available contraceptives, including LARC methods, in a non-coercive manner as a strategy to reduce reproductive health disparities among marginalized women at high risk of unplanned pregnancies.
Describes the simultaneous fieldwork and clinical practice at an urban women’s jail in the United States. Discusses the experiences of delivering the infants of incarcerated pregnant women and of being with the mothers as they navigate drug addiction, child custody battles, and re–incarceration, the roles of doctor and anthropologist become mutually constitutive and transformative.
Argues that incarceration does not preclude women's need for access to abortion, full access to services is not available in all settings. Discusses how improving women's overall health care in correctional settings should include increasing the accessibility of abortion services.
Discusses how contraception does not appear to be integrated into the routine delivery of clinical services to incarcerated women. Analyzes how the correctional health care system can provide important clinical and public health interventions to traditionally marginalized populations, services for incarcerated women should include access to contraception.