Justice-Involved Population

The justice-involved population is disproportionately male, minority and low income. Mental health conditions are over-represented, with some estimates indicating that between 35% and 45% of those in jails and prisons have a history of mental health diagnoses, with the majority reporting major depressive disorder. Approximately two out of every three inmates in state prisons and jails meet the medical criteria for substance abuse disorder. According the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, two million people with mental illness are booked into jails each year, the majority of whom are non-violent. Not surprisingly, states with the least access to mental health services, have more adults in the criminal justice system. Florida falls into this category. While in the criminal justice system, inmates are provided with varying degrees and quality of healthcare services, but after leaving many lose access to the services and benefits they need to maintain their healthcare and treatment regimens. They may be released with only a short supply of medication, but no coordination to ensure the continuity of their treatment. Medical records often aren’t transferred, which creates barriers for providers.  A criminal record makes it difficult for people to get jobs and housing, so many end-up homeless, in emergency rooms or back in jail or prison. Health centers can be an important bridge for those re-entering society.

Justice-Involved Population Resources

Incarceration and Health: A Family Medicine Perspective American Academy of Family Physicians
Incarceration Healthy People 2020
What Does Health Justice Look Like for People Returning from Incarceration? American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, September 2017
Healthcare After Incarceration Urban Institute, February 2018
Resource Guide: The Impact of Incarceration and Reentry on Community Health and Well-Being National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine
Incarceration and Homelessness National Healthcare for the Homeless Council
Stopping the Revolving Door: How Health Centers Can Serve Justice-Involved Populations Corporation for Supportive and National Healthcare for the Homeless Council 


Visit our Vulnerable Populations News page

For more information, contact Erin Sologaistoa at [email protected]