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

Serving Safely

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

Serving Safely is a national initiative designed to improve interactions between police and persons affected by mental illnesses and developmental disabilities. Supported through a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the initiative includes leaders in the fields of policing, mental illness, intellectual/developmental ...

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

Minimizing Harm

Public Health and Justice System Responses to Drug Use and the Opioid Crisis

For the Record Evidence Brief SeriesHow government and communities should respond to drug use is a perennial question that has gained a renewed sense of urgency in the face of the current opioid overdose crisis, and annual deaths from overdose have grown more than ninefold since 1980. In addition to the thousands of lives claimed, thousands more Am...

Publication
  • Jim Parsons, Scarlet Neath
December 13, 2017
Publication