Incarceration rates in the United States have risen dramatically in recent decades. The increasing numbers entering and exiting U.S. prisons and jails raise questions about the adequacy of healthcare available for them, particularly given the prevalence of drug and alcohol addictions, chronic diseases, and mental illness in the incarcerated population.
Questions include the effects of incarceration itself on health, the particular vulnerabilities of people who are incarcerated, the quality and accessibility of healthcare before, during, and following incarceration, and the consequences for both the individuals and the public health in their communities when they are released. One increasingly prominent set of issues concerns capitalizing on opportunities to improve care and screening for a population with a high burden of diseases.
Health and Incarceration: A Workshop Summary provides perspective on an important set of policy issues. Undertaken in conjunction with a major study of the causes and consequences of high rates of incarceration in the United States, it is a valuable compendium of expert insights and policy ideas for health professionals and policy makers working on these issues.
This workshop was organized by the Committee on Law and Justice and the Institute of Medicine’s Board on Health of Select Populations as a way to address the charge to the Committee on the Causes and Consequences of High Rates of Incarceration funded by the National Institute of Justice and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
The report was prepared with a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
► More information about the Committee on the Causes and Consequences of High Rates of Incarceration