No Real Release

The role prisons play in the spread of infectious disease among prisoners is well appreciated. But the health problems of prisoners extend far beyond prison walls. As former inmates return home to their families and communities, so too do the health risks to which they’re exposed. Taken together, the health problems that flow between prisons and communities create an incarceration-health link that threatens inmates and non-inmates alike.

online resources

Urban Institute-Health and Reentry Reports

The Urban Institute is a research and advising organization that aims to inform social and economic policy decisions. One of UI’s focus areas is crime and justice, within this division they have conducted a number of research projects on prison health and its implications for prisoner reentry. This brief overview highlights main findings and provides links to reportsconcerning health and reentry in Illinois, Ohio, New Jersey, and Maryland.

The Strengthening Offenders and Families While Promoting Community Health and Safety report put out in 2001 by the UI focuses more on how the health problems of offenders can negatively impact the families and communities they return to following completion of their sentence. The report notes how communities could benefit from investing resources in support and treatment services for ex-prisoners and their families.

Health Care in Wisconsin Prisons

A forty minute presentation by David E. Burnett, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Medical Director. Burnett discusses common health problems, healthcare availability, and issues associated with follow-up care after release from prison in the state of Wisconsin:

US dept. of Justice-Corrections and Public Health Collaboration

A 2003 U.S. Department of Justice report (PDF Download) about providing health care in prison, but also discusses health issues upon reentry and the effect for larger population and community. Discusses how and why public health organization should be deeply involved in the transition from prison to community and highlights different forms this collaboration can take.

Council on Crime and Justice

The Council on Crime Justice is an independent non-profit organization working in Minnesota to address causes and consequences of crime. The CCJ conducts research on crime and incarceration and offers outreach support services to prisoners and their families. The Healthy Educational Lifestyles Project aims to improve the health of offenders both in and out of prison. This program focuses its efforts on educating inmates of color about behaviors related to HIV/STDs/Hepatitis C transmission, violence and relationship building, and basic life needs, in order to impart the knowledge and skills necessary to reduce recidivism and maintain and manage personal health. The Family Strengthening Project works with parents and children on building and maintaining healthy relationship during and after incarceration. The program offers family counseling and marriage, family, parenting, and financial education classes. The FSP can closely work with incarcerate fathers and their families to create a detailed reentry plan which aims to build and strengthen healthy family relationships and economic self-sufficiency.

A Bill of Rights for Children of Prisoners

The San Francisco Children of Incarcerated Parents Project presents a “Bill of Rights” for children whose parents have been incarcerated. Considers how the health and lives of children and families are impacted by a parent’s incarceration, while health is not the primary focus, proper care in a parent’s absence is one of a child’s “rights.”

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Health Information Blog

February 17, 2009

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