Three female characters from our pilot video mini-series look out to the Sister Volcanoes in New Mexico while agreeing to support each other. Angel (left), a nurse at the juvenile detention facility where Sofia (middle) and Micah (right), all met.

To address high rates of teen pregnancy and STIs among teens involved or at risk of being involved in the juvenile justice system, we partnered with the Policy & Research Group to produce “Unstained,” an entertainment-education pilot video mini-series around sexual health for the Juvenile Justice Impact and Innovation Network. 

What’s the Story? 
Sofia and Micah, two teenage girls in New Mexico, navigate family and relationship conflicts.  Circumstances lead them to get involved in the justice system.

At the detention center, they meet Angel, a nurse practitioner who provides sexual health information and resources. Possible pregnancy and STIs are issues both girls confront. Upon release, Sofia and Micha support each other. They discuss the complexities of sexuality, healthy relationships, consent, and contraception. Angel becomes a mentor for the two teens. 

Teens Involved in the Justice System and Pregnancy 

Teens in the juvenile justice system are at greater risk for pregnancy and STIs. 50% of teen girls in the justice system experience pregnancy (HHS ). New Mexico has a high rate of teen pregnancy (New Mexico Voices), which increases significantly among this group.  

Our entertainment-education intervention is designed to reduce sexual and other risk behaviors.  Reducing these risks leads to improved health outcomes for young people involved or at risk of being involved in the juvenile justice system.

Why Are Teens in New Mexico’s Juvenile Justice System at Higher Risk? 

  • Lack of access to sex education or services 
  • Don’t fully grasp the consequences of pregnancy and STIs 
  • Past abuse and trauma lead to riskier behaviors and difficulty communicating consent

2023 Pilot Study Results
Among young people involved in the justice system who watched the mini-series:

  • 68% of study participants agreed or strongly agreed that the videos changed how they think about
    their sexual health
  • 87% of participants rated the overall quality of the videos as good, very good, or excellent
  • 72% of participants said they would recommend the videos to their peers

Results were maintained at the 1-month post-intervention follow-up.

What’s Next? 
The Office of Population Affairs has awarded “Unstained” a grant to undergo rigorous testing so that it can be cleared as a US government agency intervention to reduce teen pregnancy in communities with the highest need. “Unstained” is made possible by a grant from the HHS Office of Population Affairs and supporters like you. 

Why Entertainment-Education? 
Entertainment-Education (EE) influences social and behavioral change at multiple levels of
society. The bond between audiences and characters provides connection, role-modeling,
and a trusted source of accurate information, leading to lasting behavior change. 

To learn more about the program, check out the Juvenile Justice & Impact Network’s website.  Or, learn more about our Empowered People programs.

This project is made possible by grant number 1 TP2H000070-01-11 from the HHS Office of Population Affairs. Contents are solely the responsibility of the production team and do not represent the official views of the Department of Health and Human Services or the Office of Population Affairs; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. 

Post last edited Jan. 17, 2024.

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