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

Series: Covid-19

Law Enforcement Best Practices Can Help Halt the Spread of COVID-19 by Keeping People Out of Jail

Jurisdictions adopt best practices A few jurisdictions, including several of the largest police forces in the country, have already adopted some of these best practices. These departments provide examples for law enforcement agencies nationwide. Some jurisdictions are taking steps to change enforcement patterns. Miami-Dade Police Department has ...

Blog Post
  • Aaron Stagoff-Belfort
    Aaron Stagoff-Belfort
March 27, 2020
Blog Post

Series: Target 2020

Responding to COVID-19: Focusing on People in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Systems

People who are incarcerated at the following facilities have already tested positive: the Rikers Island jail complex and the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York City; the Nassau County Correctional Center in East Meadow, New York; the Larimer County Community Corrections program in Fort Collins, Colorado; the Massachusetts Treatment Center in ...

Blog Post
  • Logan Schmidt
    Logan Schmidt
March 23, 2020
Blog Post

Changing Course in the Overdose Crisis

Moving from Punishment to Harm Reduction and Health

Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, and communities across the country are struggling to respond. But the punitive approach exemplified by the “war on drugs” has driven mass incarceration, exacerbated racial disparities within the criminal justice system, and devastated communities of color. The United State ...

Publication
  • Jason Tan de Bibiana, Charlotte Miller, Leah Pope, Susan Stellin, Jim Parsons, David Cloud
February 21, 2020
Publication