270498 Community Connections: An Evaluation of an Innovative Reentry Intervention with HIV Positive Former State Prisoners

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM

Donna Smith, MA , Institute of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Tina Taylor, MPH , Institute of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Kelvin Parker , Institute of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Sarita Davis, PhD , African American Studies, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Richard Rothenberg, MD, MPH , Institute of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
This presentation reports on an evaluation of 'Community Connections,' a pilot intervention conducted by Georgia State University, funded by the Bureau of Justice Affairs. This intervention provides supplemental case management and peer guidance to HIV+ former Georgia state prisoners reentering the Atlanta area. ‘Community Connections' is designed to bridge the gap between prison-based discharge planning services such as the Pre-Release Planning Program within the Georgia Department of Corrections, and medical case management and social services provided by Ryan White clinics. ‘Community Connections' identifies the unmet needs of reentrants and provides linkages to community-based organizations chartered to meet those needs for housing, substance abuse treatment, education, medical services and social support. Furthermore, ‘Community Connections' pairs Participants with Peer Guides who have knowledge of corrections, HIV, addiction, and mentoring, and serve as social support for Participants in the first year after their release. Participants who meet program standards are incentivized with the provision of monthly rapid transit cards and cell phones. This program evaluation is based on in-depth qualitative, semi-structured interviews with Participants and Peer Guides, as well as thorough analysis of Peer Guide monthly logs and monthly staff assessments of each Participant-Peer Guide pairing. Results suggest that the additional case management and peer guidance coordinated through ‘Community Connections' were greatly appreciated and were critical to a successful reentry experience for most program participants. However, Participants observe that stable housing and jobs/income, beyond the scope of this intervention, are the most critical elements in their successful reentry.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice

Learning Objectives:
1. Evaluate a novel reentry intervention for formerly incarcerated persons living with HIV. 2. Assess the impact of chronic and co-occurring health conditions on the reentry experience of HIV+ former state prisoners. 3. Describe methods of recruiting successful peer guides from communities of recovery professionals and NA/AA networks. 4. Analyze the most important barriers to successful reentry for formerly incarcerated persons living with HIV. 5. Identify the benefits and challenges of partnering with government operated Correctional institutions to address public health issues.

Keywords: HIV Interventions, Access to Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Project Director for Community Connections. I have worked in HIV health disparities research for the past 10 years.
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.