The health and health care of US prisoners: results of a nationwide survey.

Departmentof Medicine, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, USA.
American Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 4.23). 02/2009; 99(4):666-72. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.144279
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We analyzed the prevalence of chronic illnesses, including mental illness, and access to health care among US inmates.
We used the 2002 Survey of Inmates in Local Jails and the 2004 Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities to analyze disease prevalence and clinical measures of access to health care for inmates.
Among inmates in federal prisons, state prisons, and local jails, 38.5% (SE = 2.2%), 42.8% (SE = 1.1%), and 38.7% (SE = 0.7%), respectively, suffered a chronic medical condition. Among inmates with a mental condition ever treated with a psychiatric medication, only 25.5% (SE = 7.5%) of federal, 29.6% (SE = 2.8%) of state, and 38.5% (SE = 1.5%) of local jail inmates were taking a psychiatric medication at the time of arrest, whereas 69.1% (SE = 4.8%), 68.6% (SE = 1.9%), and 45.5% (SE = 1.6%) were on a psychiatric medication after admission.
Many inmates with a serious chronic physical illness fail to receive care while incarcerated. Among inmates with mental illness, most were off their treatments at the time of arrest. Improvements are needed both in correctional health care and in community mental health services that might prevent crime and incarceration.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: International health studies have shown that inmates have higher rates of infectious diseases, chronic diseases and psychiatric disorders relative to the general population. We conducted a systematic collection of data on chronic physical health conditions reported by newly admitted inmates in Canadian federal penitentiaries. Over a 6-month period from April to September 2012, we collected and analyzed data from a standardized health interview routinely conducted with consenting incoming male inmates (n = 2273). Prevalence rates of health conditions were determined and disaggregated by age (< 50 yr and ≥ 50 yr) and by Aboriginal status. The most common health conditions reported by respondents were head injury (34.1%), back pain (19.3%), asthma (14.7%) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection (9.4%). Rates of many health conditions were higher among inmates 50 years of age or older than among younger inmates. Compared with their non-Aboriginal counterparts, Aboriginal inmates had higher rates of head injury and HCV infection. Our study provides a benchmark that can be used to examine health trends within Canada's federal penitentiaries over time and points to subgroups of newly admitted inmates for whom health services may need to be concentrated.
    01/2015; 3(1):E97-E102. DOI:10.9778/cmajo.20140025
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the most common blood-borne infection in the USA, though seroprevalence is elevated in certain high-risk groups such as inmates. Correctional facility screening protocols vary from universal testing to opt-in risk-based testing. This project assessed the success of a risk-based HCV screening strategy in the Philadelphia Prison System (PPS) by comparing results from current testing practices during 2011-2012 (Risk-Based Screening Group) to a September 2012 blinded seroprevalence study (Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) Study Cohort). PPS processed 51,562 inmates in 2011-2012; 2,727 were identified as high-risk and screened for HCV, of whom 57 % tested HCV antibody positive. Twelve percent (n = 154) of the 1,289 inmates in the PDPH Study Cohort were anti-HCV positive. Inmates ≥30 years of age had higher rates of seropositivity in both groups. Since only 5.3 % of the prison population was included in the Risk-Based Screening Group, an additional 4,877 HCV-positive inmates are projected to have not been identified in 2011-2012. Gaps in case identification exist when risk-based testing is utilized by PPS. A more comprehensive screening model such as opt-out universal testing should be considered to identify HCV-positive inmates. Identification of these individuals is an important opportunity to aid underserved high-risk populations and to provide medical care and secondary prevention.
    Journal of Urban Health 03/2015; 92(2). DOI:10.1007/s11524-015-9945-4 · 1.94 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The exponential increase in the number of women parolees and probationers in the last decade has made women the most rapidly growing group of offenders in the United States. The purpose of this descriptive, qualitative study is to understand the unique gendered experiences of homeless female ex-offenders in the context of healthcare needs, types of health services sought, and gaps in order to help them achieve a smooth transition post prison release. Focus group qualitative methodology was utilized to engage 14 female ex-offenders enrolled in a residential drug treatment program in Southern California. The findings suggested that for homeless female ex-offenders, there are a myriad of healthcare challenges, knowledge deficits, and barriers to moving forward in life, which necessitates strategies to prevent relapse. These findings support the development of gender-sensitive programs for preventing or reducing drug and alcohol use, recidivism, and sexually transmitted infections among this hard-to-reach population.
    Journal of Forensic Nursing 01/2013; 9(1):14-22. DOI:10.1097/JFN.0b013e31827a1e9d


Available from