Doctoral Dissertations

Orcid ID

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Sadie P. Hutson

Committee Members

Sadie, Hutson, Sandra Thomas, Katherine Morgan, Lisa-Yamagata-Lynch


Healthcare for incarcerated pregnant women is a rising public health concern. Many of these women are plagued with substance use disorders and cycle in and out of the jails in their community. As a result, many pregnant women experience drug withdrawal within the jail environment. Leading organizations and research do not support detoxification from drugs during pregnancy; however, evidence shows that fewer than half of jails provide drug withdrawal protocols for pregnant women in jail (PWIJ). Research on this topic is scarce. A thorough exploration and understanding of this phenomenon is needed because it represents a missed opportunity to understand SUD as a chronic illness and to make improvements in the mental and physical aspects of addictive disorders in a disparate population. Interdisciplinary teams that combine healthcare and criminal justice professionals lack essential knowledge needed to develop potentially impactful clinical protocols and standards of care to improve maternal/fetal health outcomes for populations affected by addiction.

This manuscript is divided into three parts. Each part focuses on a different concept central to healthcare for PWIJ culminating with the results of an interpretive description of drug withdrawal for PWIJ. Part I consists of a concept analysis of dependence using Rodger’s Evolutionary Method. Part II presents the results of a review of the literature on the healthcare for PWIJ. Part III contains the results of an interpretive description of drug withdrawal for PWIJ.

This manuscript provides a holistic overview of the phenomenon of drug withdrawal for PWIJ with implications for nursing practice, research, and policy. This is a complex public health issue with wide-reaching implications for healthcare and the criminal justice system.

Available for download on Tuesday, August 15, 2028

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