Correctional Health Care: Barriers, Solutions and Public Policy

By Brooks, Carol; Pompi, Kenneth F. et al. | Corrections Today, October 2007 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Correctional Health Care: Barriers, Solutions and Public Policy


Brooks, Carol, Pompi, Kenneth F., Nink, Carl E., Corrections Today


Corrections faces many barriers in its efforts to deliver inmate health care, and these barriers contribute to the variation found across correctional venues in the quality of health care provided to inmates. The absence of a universal and effective public policy strategy for the provision of health care services to inmates, both during incarceration and after release, is a contributing factor to the "quality gap" that exists. This is not a new issue; however, addressing correctional health care from the perspective of the interests of the public is a relatively new approach.

Inmates suffer higher rates of communicable diseases than the general population, according to the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC). (1) While this reality may generate little or no sympathy from the general public, it is not just a prison problem. The significance of correctional health care extends well beyond the walls of jails and prisons and into communities. Every year, more than 11.5 million inmates are released from U.S. jails and prisons. These individuals have the potential to carry life-threatening infectious diseases into the community, reports NCCHC. For instance, of the inmates released from U.S. prisons and jails in 1996, the commission reports that an estimated:

* 98,500 to 145,500 were HIV positive;

* 38,500 had AIDS;

* 155,000 were infected with hepatitis B;

* 1.3 million to 1.4 million were infected with hepatitis C; and

* 566,000 were infected with tuberculosis.

These are staggering numbers. The health status of inmates has a health, social and economic impact on the communities to which the inmates relocate after they are released. This puts the public squarely in the middle of the discussion of public policy in correctional health care. A public health perspective provides a political impetus for corrections to move forward in evolving an effective public policy on inmate health care.

The Challenge

The constitutional obligation for correctional facilities to provide inmate health care has been a labor-intensive and resource-demanding issue that corrections professionals have been wrestling with for years. Speaking at the 2007 Winter Conference of the American Correctional Association (ACA) on the future of correctional medicine, David Thomas of Nova Southeastern University summarized the recent history of how corrections has tried to meet that constitutional obligation. Thomas noted that meeting the challenge to provide inmates with appropriate health care during their incarceration and upon reentry into their communities has required both sweeping reforms and incremental changes in how corrections delivers health care to inmates. As a result of the advancements that were made under the activist courts of the 1970s through the 1990s, inmate health care has undergone significant across-the-board change. At the local level, some individual correctional systems and administrators have been forward thinking in recognizing the problems associated with correctional health care and have taken steps to address the barriers to improving health care services for inmates. (2)

Although corrections has made some progress in meeting its obligation to provide appropriate health care to inmates, many--probably most--venues and facilities continue to face significant barriers to their delivery of such services. The National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) notes the that a quality gap exists because there is no universal, effective public policy strategy as it relates to inmate health care: "This public policy strategy is carried out effectively by federal correctional institutions. It is implemented effectively in many state prisons, but across some state prisons and in county and local jail systems there are great variations in the extent to which such a policy is implemented." (3)

Many reasons, if not excuses, are given for the absence of a fully realized universal public policy strategy and for the variations that exist in providing appropriate health care to inmates, with insufficient funding often blamed for those variations.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Correctional Health Care: Barriers, Solutions and Public Policy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.