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Article
Publication date: 12 March 2014

Henry A. Dlugacz

The purpose of this paper is to discuss five domains impacted by the transformation of correctional mental health care in the USA: public health, public safety, legal…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss five domains impacted by the transformation of correctional mental health care in the USA: public health, public safety, legal obligations, fiscal responsibility and ethical standards, as well as critical issues such as administrative segregation, suicide prevention and reentry planning.

Design/methodology/approach

In the last four decades, the USA has seen a sizable growth in its criminal justice system and corrections population. It has also seen reductions in civil and community-based mental health care. Persons with mental disabilities have come to represent a highly disproportional segment of the corrections population. The paper discusses the implications and underlying causes of these developments as well as recent responses to them.

Findings

This set of circumstances is starting to change the mission of correctional health services from crisis intervention and suicide prevention to include preparation for the inmate's almost inevitable return to the community.

Originality/value

Such changes have led to further developments in correctional mental health care, in particular, policy designed to treat mental illness, reduce its destructive outcomes such as suicide, and facilitate successful reentry into the community in attempts to reduce recidivism and improve clinical outcomes. Mental health care professionals working within corrections have likewise faced ethical challenges in effectuating treatment.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 28 June 2022

Shivani Kaushik and Jen Currin-McCulloch

The purpose of this study was to systematically review literature to investigate trends in compassionate release policies, facility implementation, barriers at both the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to systematically review literature to investigate trends in compassionate release policies, facility implementation, barriers at both the incarcerated individual and institutional levels, as well as gaps in the literature. The absence of uniform and appropriate policies to address suitable interventions at the end-of-life has aggravated the challenges and issues facing health-care systems within a correctional facility. A response to address and alleviate these barriers is policies related to compassionate release, a complex route that grants eligible inmates the opportunity to die in their community. Despite the existence of compassionate release policies, only 4% of requests to the Federal Bureau of Prisons are granted, with evidence demonstrating similarly low rates among numerous state prison systems, signifying the underuse of these procedures as a vital approach to decarceration.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic review was completed using preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses guidelines. Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International Abstracts, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Cochrane Library, Education Resources Information Center, Google Scholar, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, PubMed, Social Services Abstracts and Social Work Abstracts were searched from inception to March 2021. Inclusion criteria included: the compassionate release policy (or related policy) is implemented in the USA; reported qualitative and/or quantitative outcomes; and reported original data.

Findings

Twenty studies formed the final data set. Data analysis revealed four main themes: language barriers, complexities of eligibility criteria, over-reliance on prognostication and social stigma. Barriers to inmates’ access to compassionate release policies include unclear or technical language used in policy documents. Eligibility criteria appear to vary across the country, including disease prognoses and the ability to predict terminal declines in health, creating confusion amongst inmates, lawyers and review boards. Stigmas surrounding the rights of incarcerated individuals frequently influence policymakers who experience pressure to maintain a punitive stance to appease constituents, thus discouraging policies and interventions that promote the release of incarcerated individuals.

Research limitations/implications

Further research is vital to strengthen the understanding of compassionate release policies and related barriers associated with accessing various types of early parole. To promote social justice for this marginalized population, end-of-life interventions in corrections need to be consistently evaluated with outcomes that improve care for dying inmates.

Practical implications

Within correctional facilities, correctional health-care workers should play an integral role in influencing prison and medical staff attitudes toward dying inmates by providing an understanding of how to effectively support this vulnerable population. Social workers should participate in research that focuses on effective guidelines for correctional facilities to provide compassionate end-of-life care for inmates.

Social implications

Racial disparities in the US criminal justice system are prevalent and well documented, as individuals of color are arrested far out of proportion to their share of all individuals in the USA. This particular population is thus challenged with poor access to and quality of health care in corrections. Correctional health-care workers can play an integral role in influencing policymakers, as well as prison and medical staff attitudes toward dying inmates by providing an understanding of how to effectively support this vulnerable population.

Originality/value

Currently, there are no published research articles that provide a systematic review of compassionate release policies in the USA.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 19 December 2016

Rabia Ahmed, Cybele Angel, Rebecca Martel, Diane Pyne and Louanne Keenan

Incarcerated women have a disproportionate burden of infectious and chronic disease, in addition to substance use disorder and mental health illness, when compared to the…

Abstract

Purpose

Incarcerated women have a disproportionate burden of infectious and chronic disease, in addition to substance use disorder and mental health illness, when compared to the general population (Binswanger et al., 2009; Fazel et al., 2006; Fuentes, 2013; Kouyoumdjian et al., 2012). Women often enter the correctional system in poor health, making incarceration an opportunity to address health issues. The purpose of this paper is to explore the barriers to accessing health services that female inmates face during incarceration, the consequences to their health, and implications for correctional health services delivery.

Design/methodology/approach

Focus groups were conducted in Canadian correctional center with female inmates. Focus groups explored women’s experiences with accessing health services while incarcerated; the impact of access to health services on health during incarceration and in the community; and recommendations for improving access to health services. Thematic analysis was completed using N-vivo 10.

Findings

The women described multiple barriers to accessing health services that resulted in negative consequences to their health: treatment interruption; health disempowerment; poor mental and physical health; and recidivism into addiction and crime upon release. Women made three important recommendations for correctional health service delivery: provision of comprehensive health entry and exit assessments; improvement of health literacy; and establishment of health support networks. The recommendations were organized into an “Accessing Health Services Resource Manual” for incarcerated women.

Originality/value

There is a paucity of existing literature examining provision of health services for female inmates. These findings have relevancy for correctional and community health care providers and organizations that provide health services for this vulnerable population.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 March 2007

Emily Potter, Andrew Cashin, Lynn Chenoweth and Yun‐Hee Jeon

Australia, like other western nations, is experiencing a new trend within its prison population ‐ the ageing inmate. This ‘greying’ of the population presents a unique…

287

Abstract

Australia, like other western nations, is experiencing a new trend within its prison population ‐ the ageing inmate. This ‘greying’ of the population presents a unique challenge for the correctional environment. Specific needs of this population may not be well met within a correctional facility due to the physical environment layout and surroundings, restricted health service access and unaccommodating facilities and programmes. This is compounded by limited visits from family and friends. This paper outlines some of the general needs of the older male inmate and the difficulties this poses for correctional and health services. Current international initiatives and programmes used to address the ageing population’s needs are briefly examined, as are the implications for Australian and international correctional and health services wishing to implement such schemes. The applicability of Government Legislation, pertaining to the standards of care in the community, to correctional aged care programmes and facilities is discussed.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 August 2019

Shelley Peacock, Meridith Burles, Alexandra Hodson, Maha Kumaran, Rhoda MacRae, Cindy Peternelj-Taylor and Lorraine Holtslander

The number of prisoners over 55 years is increasing and many are at risk of developing dementia. This has generated new responsibilities for prisons to provide health and…

Abstract

Purpose

The number of prisoners over 55 years is increasing and many are at risk of developing dementia. This has generated new responsibilities for prisons to provide health and social care for older persons. The purpose of this paper is to synthesize the existing research literature regarding the phenomenon of the health and social care needs of older persons living with dementia in correctional settings.

Design/methodology/approach

Using an integrative review method based on Whittemore and Knafl, the inclusion criteria for the review are: articles written in English; a focus on some form of dementia and/or older persons with discussion of dementia; to be set in a correctional context (correctional facility, prison and jail); be derived from a published peer-reviewed journal or unpublished dissertation/thesis; and be a qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods study. Based on those criteria, a search strategy was developed and executed by a health sciences librarian in the following databases: Medline, CINAHL, Embase, PsychINFO, Proquest Nursing and Allied Health and Web of Science; searches were completed up to April 2019. After data were extracted from included studies, synthesis of findings involved an iterative process where thematic analysis was facilitated by Braun and Clarke’s approach.

Findings

Eight studies met the inclusion criteria. Key findings of the eight studies include recognition of dementia as a concern for correctional populations, dementia-related screening and programming for older persons and recommendations for improved screening and care practices. Most significant is the paucity of research available on this topic. Implications for research are discussed.

Originality/value

This paper identified and synthesizes the limited existing international research on the health and social care needs of older persons with dementia living in correctional settings. Although existing research is scant, this review highlights the need for increased awareness of dementia as a concern among older persons living in correctional settings. As well, the review findings emphasize that enhanced screening and interventions, particularly tailored approaches, are imperative to support those living with dementia in correctional settings.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 16 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 April 2020

Luis Gadama, Chrissie Thakwalakwa, Chimwemwe Mula, Victor Mhango, Chikosa Banda, Stephanie Kewley, Alyson Hillis and Marie-Claire Van Hout

Sub-Saharan African prisons have seen a substantial increase in women prisoners, including those incarcerated with children. There is very little strategic literature…

Abstract

Purpose

Sub-Saharan African prisons have seen a substantial increase in women prisoners, including those incarcerated with children. There is very little strategic literature available on the health situation and needs of women prisoners and their circumstantial children in Malawi. The study aims to explore this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative exploratory study using in-depth key informant interviews with senior correctional stakeholders (commissioner of prison farms, senior correctional management staff, senior health officials and senior officers in charge) (n =5) and focus group discussions (FGD) with women in prison of age between 18 and 45 years (n =23) and two FGD with correctional staff (n =21) was conducted in two prisons in Malawi, Chichiri and Zomba. Narratives were transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis.

Findings

Three key themes emerged and are as follows: “hygiene and sanitary situation across multiple prison levels and subsequent health implications for women”; “nutritional provision and diets of women and children in prison”; and “women’s access to prison-based and external health services”. Divergence or agreement across perspectives around sanitation and disease prevention, adequacy of nutrition for pregnant or breast-feeding women, health status and access to prison-based health care are presented.

Practical implications

Garnering a contemporary understanding of women’s situation and their health-care needs in Malawian prisons can inform policy and correctional health practice change, the adaptation of technical guidance and improve standards for women and their children incarcerated in Malawi.

Originality/value

There is a strong need for continued research to garner insight into the experiences of women prisoners and their children, with a particular emphasis on health situation.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 June 2022

Lance Washington

The purpose of this study was to examine the literature surrounding dementia in the aging correctional population and assess the role of cognitive screening related to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to examine the literature surrounding dementia in the aging correctional population and assess the role of cognitive screening related to dementia detection within corrections. The literature regarding the role of dementia within the justice continuum is scant. Furthermore, correctional health researchers have not reached a consensus on the best age to administer cognitive screening in older persons or prioritizes a screening tool for the early detection of dementia.

Design/methodology/approach

A key search term list including dementia screening and was developed to review the literature surrounding dementia and the aging correctional population. PubMed, Criminal Justice Abstracts (Ebsco) and the National Criminal Justice Reference Service were used within the academic search. A gray literature search using these same search terms was conducted reviewing criminal justice federal agencies and organizations for additional information on the dementia experience within correctional settings. Snowballing was used to capture relevant theoretical and empirical knowledge.

Findings

Shortages in aging specialized health-care staffing presents a barrier for the clinical interpretation of Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) results. Correctional officers are also identified as useful candidates within the administration of cognitive screening with proper training. The MoCA may be the optimal cognitive screening tool for dementia, until an original cognitive screening tool is created specific to the correctional population. An age of 55 years or older may serve as the best cutoff score for classifying incarcerated individuals as older persons, and screening should be prioritized for these individuals. Finally, new specialized programs related to dementia within correctional settings are identified.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation of this research is the conflicting opinions among researchers regarding the use of general cognitive screening tools within the correctional setting.

Originality/value

This research can inform correctional organizational policy and practices regarding the screening of older persons suspected of dementia. Most notably, this research proposes that correctional settings should incorporate the MoCA within initial screening of all individuals 55 years of age or older, enriching the job design of correctional officer's job positions to include cognitive testing, and for correctional settings to provide dementia and age-associated training for correctional officers. Finally, this paper informs future research in the development of a cognitive assessment tool specific to the correctional population.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 March 2017

Carolyn Sufrin, Sara Baird, Jennifer Clarke and Elizabeth Feldman

Incarcerated women around the globe are predominantly of reproductive age. Most of these women have been pregnant before, and many want to be sexually active and avoid…

Abstract

Purpose

Incarcerated women around the globe are predominantly of reproductive age. Most of these women have been pregnant before, and many want to be sexually active and avoid pregnancy upon release. Yet few of these women are on a regular method of contraception. Providing contraceptive services for women in custody benefits individual and public health goals of reducing unintended pregnancy. This policy briefing reviews evidence for an unmet need for family planning in the correctional setting, and policy implications for expanding services. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors describe four model programs in the USA with established contraceptive services on site, highlighting practical steps other facilities can implement.

Findings

Correctional facilities health administrators, providers, advocates, and legislators should advance policies which should counsel women on family planning and should make a range of contraceptive methods available before release, while remaining sensitive to the potential pressure these women may feel to use birth control in this unique environment.

Practical implications

Family planning services for incarcerated women benefits individuals, facilities, and the community.

Social implications

Policies which enable correctional facilities to provide comprehensive family planning to incarcerated women – including reproductive life goals counseling and contraceptive method provision – promote equity in access to critical reproductive health services and also provide broad scale population level benefits in preventing unintended pregnancy or enabling counseling for healthy pregnancies for a group of women who often have limited access to such services.

Originality/value

This policy briefing highlights an area of health care in prisons and jails which gets little attention in research and in policy circles: family planning services for incarcerated women. In addition to reviewing the importance of such services for this population, the authors also highlight model family planning programs in correctional facilities. These provide actionable insights for other administrators and providers.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 June 2018

Jaclyn M. White Hughto, Kirsty A. Clark, Frederick L. Altice, Sari L. Reisner, Trace S. Kershaw and John E. Pachankis

Incarcerated transgender women often require healthcare to meet their physical-, mental-, and gender transition-related health needs; however, their healthcare experiences…

Abstract

Purpose

Incarcerated transgender women often require healthcare to meet their physical-, mental-, and gender transition-related health needs; however, their healthcare experiences in prisons and jails and interactions with correctional healthcare providers are understudied. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

In 2015, 20 transgender women who had been incarcerated in the USA within the past five years participated in semi-structured interviews about their healthcare experiences while incarcerated.

Findings

Participants described an institutional culture in which their feminine identity was not recognized and the ways in which institutional policies acted as a form of structural stigma that created and reinforced the gender binary and restricted access to healthcare. While some participants attributed healthcare barriers to providers’ transgender bias, others attributed barriers to providers’ limited knowledge or inexperience caring for transgender patients. Whether due to institutional (e.g. sex-segregated prisons, biased culture) or interpersonal factors (e.g. biased or inexperienced providers), insufficient access to physical-, mental-, and gender transition-related healthcare negatively impacted participants’ health while incarcerated.

Research limitations/implications

Findings highlight the need for interventions that target multi-level barriers to care in order to improve incarcerated transgender women’s access to quality, gender-affirmative healthcare.

Originality/value

This study provides first-hand accounts of how multi-level forces serve to reinforce the gender binary and negatively impact the health of incarcerated transgender women. Findings also describe incarcerated transgender women’s acts of resistance against institutional and interpersonal efforts to maintain the gender binary and present participant-derived recommendations to improve access to gender affirmative healthcare for incarcerated transgender women.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 May 2021

Matthew Martin, Megan A. Phillips, Mary Saxon, Kailey Love, Laurie Cessna, Deborah L. Woodard, Mary Page, Kenneth Curry, Alyssa Paone, Bobbie Pennington-Stallcup and William Riley

People living with opioid use disorder (OUD) disproportionately encounter the criminal justice system. Although incarcerated individuals with OUD face higher risk for…

Abstract

Purpose

People living with opioid use disorder (OUD) disproportionately encounter the criminal justice system. Although incarcerated individuals with OUD face higher risk for withdrawals, relapses and overdoses, most jails fail to offer comprehensive medications for OUD (MOUD), including recovery support services and transition of care to a community provider. The purpose of this paper is to describe the development and implementation of a comprehensive MOUD program at a large county jail system in Maricopa County, Arizona.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used the Sequential Intercept Model (SIM) to develop a community-based, multi-organizational program for incarcerated individuals with OUD. The SIM is a mapping process of the criminal justice system and was applied in Maricopa County, Arizona to identify gaps in services and strengthen resources at each key intercept. The program applies an integrated care framework that is person-centered and incorporates medical, behavioral and social services to improve population health.

Findings

Stakeholders worked collaboratively to develop a multi-point program for incarcerated individuals with OUD that includes an integrated care service with brief screening, MOUD and treatment; a residential treatment program; peer support; community provider referrals; and a court diversion program. Recovery support specialists provide education, support and care coordination between correctional and community health services.

Originality/value

OUD is a common problem in many correctional health centers. However, many jails do not provide a comprehensive approach to connect incarcerated individuals with OUD treatment. The Maricopa County, Arizona jail system opioid treatment program is unique because of the ongoing support from recovery support specialists during and after incarceration.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

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