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Planned Parenthood’s education programs are most often associated with the sex ed classes offered to teens and young adults, such as the peer-to-peer sex ed training in Teen Council, or the award-winning In•Clued LGBTQ sex ed program. 

However, Planned Parenthood offers education for adults as well, including videos, literature and in-person workshops
 
In Indiana, Planned Parenthood has expanded sex education programs to reach incarcerated women. 

"We started working at women's prisons several years ago," explained Leslie Montgomery, PPINK Education Manager. 

When the Indiana Women's Prison Education Programming started, Montgomery recalled that Planned Parenthood was invited by two of the state's programming officials. 

"They asked us to come into the facility to teach sex ed for the incarcerated participants."  

As a part of a greater re-entry program, which all incarcerated women in Indiana take part in the months before their release, Montgomery developed a one-hour class focusing on sexual health and STI prevention.  

"We would teach a new group of people each month," she added. 

From that original one-hour class, the reception was so positive that Planned Parenthood was invited to develop more curriculum for the women. Starting with a program tailored for pregnant participants, Montgomery and the PPINK education team added classes about birth control, parenting newborns, physiology and anatomy. 

"Many participants were excited to learn things about their bodies and their health they told me no one had ever explained to them before. They said that they would share the information with their partner, friends and family. They also said they appreciated being able to speak openly about sex and sexuality,” said Montgomery. 

Because of the pandemic, she said “the program is on hold for the time being.” 

"It's been a long time since we've been able to do any programming there. We were last able to visit and teach in February 2020, but we would like to continue as soon as possible. We'll return as soon as the facilities say it's okay to come back," Montgomery continued.  

In the meantime, in the absence of in-person classes, Planned Parenthood is sending literature for the incarcerated women outlining the same information they would get in the classes - often driven to the facilities and dropped off by hand by Planned Parenthood educator La Shea Walker. 

Walker, one of the educators of the program, said, "We haven't been able to connect virtually with the women. It's not something the facilities can set up or support, so we have to keep dropping off literature and wait until they re-open to people coming in [to resume teaching]."  

Walker expressed similar sentiments to Montgomery's about wanting to continue as soon as possible and added “there is a timely need for the education, especially for the pregnant participants.” 

Walker has been reaching out on a monthly basis to the prisons to check on the timeline of resuming the in-person education classes. They added, "When [the prisons] do re-open, we expect it will be staggered dates, because they are all separate facilities." 

Planned Parenthood's education work with the facilities is not paid for by the state. 

"This is basically volunteer work with the state of Indiana, from Planned Parenthood," Montgomery said. 

To help keep the Indiana Women's Prison Education Program - and other programs like it – stay equipped to resume educating as soon as possible, please consider supporting with a donation.

Tags: Indiana

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