245637 Mass Incarceration: What has APHA accomplished and What Is To Be Done?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 12:30 PM

Robert Cohen, MD , Department of Medicine, New York University Medical School, New York, NY
Maddy deLone, JD, MS , Executive Director, Innocence Project, New York City, NY
Marc Mauer, MSW , Executive Director, The Sentencing Project, Washington, DC
Henry Dlugacz, MSW, JD , Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, New York Medical College, Beldock Levine & Hoffman, LLP, New York, NY
In 1991 the APHA passed resolution 9123, entitled Social Practice of Mass Imprisonment. The resolution condemned the social practice that sanctions mass imprisonment rather than defining and changing those conditions that engender and accompany criminal behavior, including drug addiction, unemployment, homelessness, poverty, and illiteracy, encouraged federal and local and state governments to develop and utilize alternatives to incarceration to their fullest extent, and called for immediate solutions to prison overcrowding and an end to the explosion in prison construction, expansion, and human incarceration which consumes resources which are urgently needed for other federal, state, and local social need. The resolution also supported the evaluation, on a national level, of root causes of criminal behavior, and the high rate of incarceration of Americans, including minority populations in particular.

In 1991 we noted that the incarceration rate in the US is the highest in the world at 426 currently incarcerated of every 100,000 residents, and that in the prior decade the number of prisoners in the USA has more than doubled while the population has grown by 10 percent and the crime rate has decreased by 3.5 percent. Twenty years later the US incarceration rate has increased to over 750 per one hundred thousand and there are 2,300,000 men and women in U.S. prisons and jails.In 1994 there were approximately 5000 immigrants in detention status. In 2001 there were 19,000 men and women detained immigrants in and today there are over 32,000 in immigration detentions facilities.

In this panel discussion we will discuss the epidemiology of mass incarceration, enumerate the public heath consequences of mass incarceration, identify treatable causes of mass incarceration, and consider strategies to reverse this threat to our nation's public health.

Learning Areas:
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the trends and consequences of mass incarceration in the United States in the twenty years since the APHA passed a resolutions condemning the social use of mass incarceration.

Keywords: Criminal Justice, Jails and Prisons

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Appointed as Federal Monitor to oversee medical care in prisons in New York, Michigan, and CT. I represent the APHA on the National Commission for Correctional Health Care
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.