Strengthening Families and Communities

Expanding Access to Health Care

Health problems—from diabetes, to hepatitis C, to drug abuse and mental illness—are much more common among people involved in the criminal justice system. Limited access to health care in their communities is too often the reason they end up in a police car or jail cell. And when the system doesn’t open a door to treatment, their health further deteriorates.

Applying a public health lens to the crisis of mass incarceration can change this dynamic by raising awareness and promoting solutions to both curb incarceration and improve public health in poor communities. Pioneering data sharing across criminal justice and health care systems can break cycles of arrest and incarceration and change peoples’ lives. Work with public defenders can improve legal representation and outcomes for defendants who are mentally ill, and partnerships with officials who oversee jails can prevent suicide and other types of self-harm. 

Related Work

Sharing Behavioral Health Information across Justice and Health Systems

Opportunities in the District of Columbia

People with mental health and substance use problems are overrepresented at all stages of the criminal justice system in the United States. However, decision makers, health care providers, and staff often work with only a fraction of the behavioral health information that exists about their clients. Expanding the availability of behavioral health d...

Publication
  • Marilyn Sinkewicz, Yu-Fen Chiu, Leah Pope
December 07, 2018
Publication

Serving Safely

The National Initiative to Enhance Policing for Persons with Mental Illnesses and Developmental Disabilities

Request AssistanceServing Safely is a national initiative designed to improve interactions between police and persons affected by mental illnesses and developmental disabilities. The initiative offers free remote and on-site assistance to police departments and prosecutors’ offices through training, evaluation, and guidance specific to your agency’...

Project
  • Rebecca Neusteter
    Rebecca Neusteter
Project

Corrections-Based Responses to the Opioid Epidemic

Lessons from New York State's Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution Program

As the opioid crisis has swept the nation, more and more states are equipping their first responders and police officers with naloxone, an overdose antidote that reverses opioid overdoses and can be administered by bystanders with minimal training. This report details the efforts of New York State to implement an overdose education and naloxone dis...

Publication
  • Vedan Anthony-North, Leah Pope, Stephanie Pottinger, Izzy Sederbaum
March 22, 2018
Publication

Impact of Having an Incarcerated Parent Lasts a Lifetime—and May Shorten It, Study Says

A recent study of the impact of parental incarceration on children  in the Netherlands found that children of incarcerated parents were more likely to die prematurely in adulthood than people whose parents have not been incarcerated.    While previous studies have examined the impact of parental incarceration on younger children, little literature ...

Blog Post
  • Jack W. Duran
    Jack W. Duran
  • Karina Schroeder
    Karina Schroeder
January 23, 2018
Blog Post

Tougher Drug Law Enforcement Does Not Increase Public Safety

States That Have Eased Enforcement in Recent Years Are Moving in the Right Direction

Police also express limited support for this level of enforcement. A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of police surveyed believed that marijuana use should be allowed for recreational or medical use. Eighty-four percent of the public surveyed believed that marijuana use should be allowed in cert...

Blog Post
  • Jim Parsons
    Jim Parsons
  • Karina Schroeder
    Karina Schroeder
January 05, 2018
Blog Post