Why it matters: Advocacy and Policies to Support Healthy Communitiesafter Incarceration
Description: Some of this health burden is in the form of communicable diseases like HIV, hepatitis C, and gonorrhea and some is in the form of non-communicable chronic diseases like substance abuse, mental illness, and hypertension. Whether communicable diseases, which risk spreading to others in the community, or non-communicable, which, in addition to harmingindividuals, risk costing taxpayers, it behooves us, as a public health community, to advocate for comprehensivehealth care for this population.
Lessons Learned: Comprehensive health care consists of treatment of current diseases, education about disease management and harm reduction to limit complications of incurable disease, and behavior modification to prevent future disease. Yet often, impacted communities lack resources and providers find themselves ill-equipped to address the social, emotional and physical health challenges faced by their patients. Thus criminal justice system involvement directly affects the health and well-being of this population and their communities.
Recommendations: Advocacy, collaboration and policies to support better health outcomes among individuals returning to their communities post-incarceration are needed to address the burden of disease this population faces.
Learning Areas:Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Discuss key human rights issues and facilitate group interactive session to demonstrate community actions that can be taken to address nexus of mass incarceration and community health disparities.
Keyword(s): Advocacy, Criminal Justice
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a MD MPH, correctional healthcare consultant, and assistant professor at University of Washington's Department of Health Services School of Public Health, and volunteer faculty at University of Albany School of Public Health. I am a member of the education committee for the National Commission on Correctional Health Care and the Society of Correctional Physicians, a reviewer for the American Journal of Public Health, International Journal of Prison Health, Journal of 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.