IN THE NEWS
Justice Department Seeks Better Interactions with Mentally Ill
Associated Press, April 19, 2016
“The Justice Department is working to address the problems by encouraging better police interactions with people struggling with mental illness, as well as mental-health treatment for suspects both inside and outside prison. The department is also promoting the use of specialized mental-health courts and diverting some suspects to treatment instead of jail, plus improved treatment for those who wind up behind bars.”
Connecticut to Expand Methadone Treatment for Prisoners
Associated Press, April 17, 2016
“The effort comes as heroin overdoses have soared nationwide. In Connecticut alone, heroin was detected in 415 people who died from accidental overdoses last year, up from 174 in 2012. A total of 723 people died from drug overdoses in the state in 2015, 44 percent of whom had a state Department of Correction record, according to the state prison and budget agencies.”
Broken Jail Healthcare System Poses Dangers Behind Bars
CBS, April 5, 2016
“But problems with ACH medical staff extend beyond Kentucky. One nurse in Tennessee was convicted of covering up his failure to take an inmate’s vital signs. The inmate died of a drug and alcohol overdose. Another inmate in Ohio died from a bleeding ulcer where the medical examiner concluded the “need for urgent medical intervention” would have been obvious to anyone. In one Alabama jail, three wrongful death lawsuits are pending — including one for a 19-year-old accused of shoplifting. He was found naked with gangrene in his leg.”
State Seeks to Bend the Rules to Allow Medicaid Coverage for Inmates
Crain’s, March 31, 2016
“This has not been the first call to allow Medicaid dollars to flow to inmates, and it won’t be the last. Since scrutiny of health care at Rikers Island came to the fore, health officials have been discussing ways in which waivers could be used to pay for other services, as well. ‘A key funding opportunity could involve Medicaid waivers to reimburse provision of chronic care inside jails and prisons that was initiated in a community setting,’ wrote Homer Venters, chief medical officer and assistant vice president of the Division of Correctional Health Services for New York City Health and Hospitals, in a report published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
CENTER IN FOCUS
The Center’s Executive Director, Brad Brockmann, was featured in The Nation’s Health, discussing the need for significant reform in the use of solitary confinement, and the potential of residential treatment units for incarcerated individuals with mental illness.
Center Co-Founder Dr. Josiah Rich was featured on the local news in Rhode Island, talking about the extend of the opioid crisis in New England and how Rhode Island is tackling the problem. You can continue to follow updates from the RI Governor’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force.
For a broader take on correctional health, see the Fall 2015 edition of Issues in Science and Technology. Dr. Rich and the Center’s Senior Research Assistant Alexandria Macmadu wrote a correctional health overview that focuses on correctional health as community health and the challenges of providing health care inside.