IN THE NEWS
Jail Officials, Doctors Divided on Care of Opioid-Addicted Inmates
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 8 , 2016
“Research has shown that maintenance treatments like methadone and buprenorphine reduce relapse and overdose. Because these drugs are opioids themselves, though, many jails are reluctant to provide them to anyone except pregnant women, who can miscarry during withdrawal. Fewer than 40 correctional facilities nationwide offer such drugs, according to a Pew Stateline study.”
National Survey of Prison Healthcare: Selected Findings
Centers for Disease Control, July 28, 2016
“Overall, 45 states participated in NSPHC. In 2011, the percentages of prison admissions occurring in states that tested at least some prisoners for the following conditions during the admissions process were: 76.9% for hepatitis A, 82.0% for hepatitis B, 87.3% for hepatitis C, 100.0% for tuberculosis, 100.0% for mental health conditions and suicide risk, 40.3% for traumatic brain injury, 82.5% for cardiovascular conditions and risk factors using electrocardiogram, 70.0% for elevated lipids, and 99.8% for high blood pressure.” Center Director Dr. Jody Rich commented on the report for the American Heart Association.
7,000 Deaths in Custody
The Atlantic, July 28, 2016
“Between 2005 and 2015, 6,913 people died while in legal custody in Texas. Many died of natural causes while serving long prison sentences. Others ended their own lives. A few died at the hands of another inmate, or, in some cases, police or correctional officers. In a handful of instances, people died from cardiac arrest after quickly ingesting a lethal dose of drugs while being arrested or after getting pulled over by police. Together, these deaths form revealing patterns about Texas-style justice and the state of corrections in an increasingly carceral country.”
Tennessee Inmates Sue Over Lack of Hepatitis C Treatment
Associated Press, July 26, 2016
“The American Civil Liberties Union and other advocates are alleging in U.S. District Court in Nashville that Tennessee Department of Correction officials are knowingly denying inmates care for their hepatitis C. The lawsuit alleges the department is denying care because the best available medication is too expensive”
CENTER IN FOCUS
Center Co-Founder and Director Dr. Josiah Rich is profiled in The Lancet (page 8) as part of their series on HIV and related infections in prisoners. Dr. Rich and other Center-affiliated staff and researchers have a piece in the series on the clinical care of incarcerated people with HIV, viral hepatitis, or tuberculosis.
The Lancet series has sparked new conversation about the role incarceration plays in disrupting or limiting care for infectious diseases. The Washington Post covers this story, with comments from the Center’s Executive Director Brad Brockmann regarding the need to increase our focus on hepatitis C in incarcerated populations.
Dr. Rich and Mr. Brockmann have also been featured in the press discussing the role correctional facilities can play in saving lives and treating individuals with opioid use disorder as well as the need for significant reform in the use of solitary confinement.
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.