"On September 17, 2014, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) convened a two-day conference in Rockville, Maryland called Bridging the Gap: Improving the Health of Justice-Involved People through Information Technology. The meeting aimed to address the problems of disconnected justice and health systems and to develop solutions by describing barriers, benefits, and best practices for connecting community providers and correctional facilities using health information technology (HIT) … The following proceedings give an overview of each session and a synthesis of the obstacles to instituting HIT solutions for information sharing detailed during the meeting. The proceedings address the importance of using emerging HIT to respond to the growing problem of people with mental health and substance use disorders involved in the criminal justice system and to articulate a vision of how HIT can facilitate ongoing connections between health and justice systems" (p. 2). Sections cover: the vision—no wrong door; from correctional facilities to community providers; from community providers to correctional facilities; challenges of using health information technology to improve the health of justice-involved people; overcoming challenges—opportunities and solutions; resources for finding solutions; case study—creating a health ecosystem in Louisville, Kentucky.
"This report, modeled on promising approaches in the mental health field to people experiencing a first episode of psychosis, outlines a new integrated framework that encourages the mental health and criminal justice fields to collaborate on developing programs based on early intervention, an understanding of the social determinants that underlie ill health and criminal justice involvement, and recovery-oriented treatment."
This report is an excellent introduction to the relationship between incarceration and public health and its significance for society. It is essential reading for anyone working within the fields of corrections and public health. Sections cover: the burden of disease behind bars—mental health, substance use and addiction, infectious disease, chronic disease, violence and self-harm, greater health disparities for women, and geriatric health; conditions of confinement and health—overcrowding, solitary confinement, sexual victimization, and quality of care; the health of communities--family structure, education and employment opportunities, housing stability and social entitlements, health insurance, and political capital; a political landscape ripe for reform; and the potential of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—bolstering community capacity, strengthening front-end alternatives to arrest, prosecution, and incarceration, bridging health and justice systems, enabling outreach and care coordination, enrolling across the criminal justice continuum, granting Medicaid waivers and innovation, advancing health information technology, and regional challenges with the ACA.
“The disproportionate number of people with behavioral health disorders involved in the criminal justice system puts a tremendous strain on scarce public resources and has a huge impact on health care and criminal justice budgets. This research summary demonstrates that with appropriate treatment and access to community-based services, this population is less likely to be incarcerated and more likely to lead healthy, productive lives—while resulting in substantial costs savings. Sections of this publication include: introduction; scope of the problem; treatment alternatives to incarceration, how they work, and how they save money—prevention, jail diversion, courts, community reentry planning, and opportunities under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).