207411 Access Study: Addressing health needs among formerly incarcerated individuals

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Angelo Pinto, JD , Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, Brooklyn, NY
Marilyn White, MD , Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, Brooklyn, NY
Ruth C. Browne, ScD , Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, Brooklyn, NY
Grace Macalino, PhD , Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, Brooklyn, NY
Issue: Accessing previously incarcerated individuals in the community. Providing health education and resources to those previously incarcerated individuals throughout the community.

Description: It is well documented that re-entry into the community from the jail/prison setting can represent a breakdown in accessing health services, impacting the health of formerly incarcerated individuals. Given the stigmatized nature of incarceration, it is often difficult to identify formerly incarcerated individuals and to provide them support around identifying and accessing health services.

We developed the Access Study to address these issues by reaching out to formerly incarcerated individuals and their families in the beauty salon and barbershop setting. The salon and barbershop setting represents local community leadership and centers of trust, where long-term relationships are often built and regular contact often occurs.

The Access study will include training barbers and stylist on important health matters relevant to those formerly incarcerated. The intervention will also include providing brochures, a resource database, periodic showings of a health education video, and health resource fairs in three beauty salons and three barbershops in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, for a three-month period. Focus groups, site observations, and pilot testing will inform form and content. Access will: (1) identify health issues and behaviors that are specific to formerly incarcerated persons and shared with general populations; (2) assist the community in coping with health needs of the formerly incarcerated; (3) create a cadre of trusted and trained lay health educators who have directed access to formerly incarcerated, their friends and families.

Lessons Learned: Excitement about this project has included securing private foundation funding and interest from City government. The primary advantage in engaging the target population through the local community setting of a barbershop or beauty salon is that it provides them the opportunity to access services in a familiar and inclusive setting. Health education for communities with high incidence of incarceration will increase the health of the formerly incarcerated as well as the prison population due to trends of recidivism. Without needing formerly incarcerated to disclose their status, the stigma associated with the discussion of incarceration is diffused.

Recommendations: Given the vast amount of inmates that are released yearly and the financial burden to house inmates, it is imperative that innovative ways are developed to access newly released inmates in the community and address their pressing health needs. Building on locations of trust and inclusion will be key to effective programs.

Learning Objectives:
Identify the roll of local community leadership and centers of trust in increasing health of the formerly incarcerated and jail/prison populations.

Keywords: Correctional Health Care, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently the Program Manger for the project that is discussed in the abstract. Additionally, I posses experience working with incarcerated populations of Rikers Island Correctional facility.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.