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Article
Publication date: 27 December 2021

Victoria Helmly, Marisol Garica, Brie Williams and Benjamin A. Howell

With a rapidly growing population of older adults with chronic illness in US prisons, the number of people who die while incarcerated is increasing. Support for patients 

Abstract

Purpose

With a rapidly growing population of older adults with chronic illness in US prisons, the number of people who die while incarcerated is increasing. Support for patients’ medical decision-making is a cornerstone of quality care for people at the end of life (EOL). This study aims to identify, describe, and analyze existing policies regarding EOL decision-making in U.S. Departments of Corrections.

Design/methodology/approach

This study performed an iterative content analysis on all available EOL decision-making policies in US state departments of corrections and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Findings

This study collected and reviewed available policies from 37 of 51 prison systems (73%). Some areas of commonality included the importance of establishing health-care proxies and how to transfer EOL decision documents, although policies differed in terms of which patients can complete advance care planning documents, and who can serve as their surrogate decision-makers.

Practical implications

Many prison systems have an opportunity to enhance their patient medical decision-making policies to bring them in line with community standard quality of care. In addition, this study was unable to locate policies regarding patient decision-making at the EOL in one quarter of US prison systems, suggesting there may be quality-of-care challenges around formalized approaches to documenting patient medical wishes in some of those prison systems.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first content analysis of EOL decision-making policies in US prison systems.

Content available

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 13 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Content available
Article
Publication date: 13 March 2017

Cyrus Ahalt and Brie Williams

351

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Article
Publication date: 14 July 2022

Alexa Kanbergs, Ilana Garcia-Grossman, Cyrus Ahalt, Michele DiTomas, Rachael Bedard and Brie Williams

Compassionate release is a process that allows for the early release or parole of some incarcerated people of advanced age, with life-limiting illness, complex medical…

Abstract

Purpose

Compassionate release is a process that allows for the early release or parole of some incarcerated people of advanced age, with life-limiting illness, complex medical care needs or significant functional decline. Despite the expansion of State and Federal compassionate release programs, this mechanism for release remains underutilized. Health-care professionals are central to the process of recommending compassionate release, but few resources exist to support these efforts. The purpose of this paper is to provide a guide for health-care professionals requesting compassionate release for patients who are incarcerated.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is stepwise guide for health-care professionals requesting compassionate release for patients who are incarcerated.

Findings

This study describes the role of the health-care professional in requesting compassionate release and offers guidance to help them navigate the process of preparing a medical declaration or request for compassionate release.

Originality/value

No prior publications have created a step-wise guide of this nature to aid health-care professionals through the compassionate release process.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 September 2017

Lia Metzger, Cyrus Ahalt, Margot Kushel, Alissa Riker and Brie Williams

The rapidly increasing number of older adults cycling through local criminal justice systems (jails, probation, and parole) suggests a need for greater collaboration among…

Abstract

Purpose

The rapidly increasing number of older adults cycling through local criminal justice systems (jails, probation, and parole) suggests a need for greater collaboration among a diverse group of local stakeholders including professionals from healthcare delivery, public health, and criminal justice and directly affected individuals, their families, and advocates. The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework that local communities can use to understand and begin to address the needs of criminal justice-involved older adults.

Design/methodology/approach

The framework included solicit input from community stakeholders to identify pressing challenges facing criminal justice-involved older adults, conduct needs assessments of criminal justice-involved older adults and professionals working with them; implement quick-response interventions based on needs assessments; share findings with community stakeholders and generate public feedback; engage interdisciplinary group to develop an action plan to optimize services.

Findings

A five-step framework for creating an interdisciplinary community response is an effective approach to action planning and broad stakeholder engagement on behalf of older adults cycling through the criminal justice system.

Originality/value

This study proposes the Criminal Justice Involved Older Adults in Need of Treatment Initiative Framework for establishing an interdisciplinary community response to the growing population of medically and socially vulnerable criminal justice-involved older adults.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 13 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 17 May 2021

Ye In (Jane) Hwang, Natasha Ann Ginnivan, Paul Leslie Simpson, Susan Baidawi, Adrienne Withall, Brie Williams and Tony Butler

The purpose of this commentary is to draw upon available literature and practices related to COVID-19 and management of older incarcerated adults in Australia to highlight…

1110

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this commentary is to draw upon available literature and practices related to COVID-19 and management of older incarcerated adults in Australia to highlight key matters for better risk management and care of this population during this and future infectious disease pan/epidemics.

Design/methodology/approach

The present commentary draws on current policies, practices and literature regarding the health, needs and management of older incarcerated adults in Australia to discuss risk, care and early release for this population during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Findings

Incarcerated persons experience poorer health and accelerated age-related decline compared to those in the general community. The present situation offers the opportunity to fill knowledge and practice gaps, including policies for staff training, identification of dementia and cognitive decline, assessment of mobility issues, addressing barriers to health-seeking, possibilities of medical or compassionate release, risk assessment and release protocols and post-release needs.

Practical implications

While Australian prisons have acknowledged the vulnerability of older persons, more focused adaptation of COVID-19-related policies to consider adults as young as 45 years are needed. Appropriate ethical identification and management of cases in this population is needed, as is discussion on issues of decarceration and medical release. Re-conceptualisation of incarcerated adults as “citizens in need of care”, rather than as “offenders to be secured”, will be beneficial. Robust, local evidence is needed to assist decision-making.

Originality/value

This is a comprehensive, focused review of relevant evidence, policies and practices for a growing subpopulation of prisoners worldwide with complex needs and particular vulnerability to the COVID-19.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 17 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 March 2017

Cyrus Ahalt, Craig Haney, Sarah Rios, Matthew P. Fox, David Farabee and Brie Williams

Although the reform of solitary confinement is underway in many jurisdictions around world, isolation remains in widespread use in many jails and prisons. The purpose of…

4022

Abstract

Purpose

Although the reform of solitary confinement is underway in many jurisdictions around world, isolation remains in widespread use in many jails and prisons. The purpose of this paper is to discuss opportunities for reform in the USA that could also be applied globally.

Design/methodology/approach

A review of the evidence on solitary confinement policies and practices in the USA to develop recommendations for reform with global application.

Findings

Focusing on this evidence, the authors argue that solitary confinement is overused and recommend a multi-level approach available to correctional systems worldwide including: immediately limiting solitary confinement to only those cases in which a violent behavioral infraction has been committed for which safety cannot otherwise be achieved, ensuring the briefest terms of isolation needed to achieve legitimate and immediate correctional goals, prohibiting its use entirely for some populations, regularly reviewing all isolated prisoners for as-soon-as-possible return to general population, including the immediate return of those showing mental and physical health risk factors, assisting individuals who are transitioning out of isolation (either to the general population or to the community), and partnering with medical, public health, and criminal justice experts to develop evidence-based alternatives to solitary confinement for nearly all prisoners.

Originality/value

This paper provides an overview of the evidence supporting an overhaul of solitary confinement policy in the USA and globally where solitary confinement remains in wide use and offers recommendations for immediate steps that can be taken toward achieving evidence-based solitary confinement reform.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 10 June 2022

Ada Kwan, Rachel Sklar, Drew B. Cameron, Robert C. Schell, Stefano M. Bertozzi, Sandra I. McCoy, Brie Williams and David A. Sears

This study aims to characterize the June 2020 COVID-19 outbreak at San Quentin California State Prison and to describe what made San Quentin so vulnerable to uncontrolled…

224

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to characterize the June 2020 COVID-19 outbreak at San Quentin California State Prison and to describe what made San Quentin so vulnerable to uncontrolled transmission.

Design/methodology/approach

Since its onset, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the profound health harms of carceral settings, such that nearly half of state prisons reported COVID-19 infection rates that were four or more times (and up to 15 times) the rate found in the state’s general population. Thus, addressing the public health crises and inequities of carceral settings during a respiratory pandemic requires analyzing the myriad factors shaping them. In this study, we reported observations and findings from environmental risk assessments during visits to San Quentin California State Prison. We complemented our assessments with analyses of administrative data.

Findings

For future respiratory pathogens that cannot be prevented with effective vaccines, this study argues that outbreaks will no doubt occur again without robust implementation of additional levels of preparedness – improved ventilation, air filtration, decarceration with emergency evacuation planning – alongside addressing the vulnerabilities of carceral settings themselves.

Originality/value

This study addresses two critical aspects that are insufficiently covered in the literature: how to prepare processes to safely implement emergency epidemic measures when needed, such as potential evacuation, and how to address unique challenges throughout an evolving pandemic for each carceral setting.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Content available

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 18 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Article
Publication date: 13 March 2017

Jae Sevelius and Valerie Jenness

The purpose of this paper is to briefly address three interrelated areas of concerns – victimization, housing placement and healthcare provision – related to the health…

1574

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to briefly address three interrelated areas of concerns – victimization, housing placement and healthcare provision – related to the health and welfare of transgender women in jails, prisons and other types of detention facilities.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on a growing body of research on health risks for transgender women who are detained in facilities in California and elsewhere, the authors provide recommendations for policy and practice that constitutes gender-affirming healthcare for transgender women behind bars.

Findings

Policymakers, correctional leaders, and prison-based clinicians have a number of opportunities to address the welfare of transgender women in jails, prisons and other types of detention facilities.

Originality/value

This policy brief offers concrete steps government officials can take to better meet their professional and constitutional obligations, provide higher quality care for transgender women involved in the criminal justice system, and effectuate positive changes in transgender women’s health and welfare both inside and outside of carceral environments.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

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