Prisons-the Epicenter of Infectious Diseases
The U.S. Correctional System is the epicenter of infectious diseases-from there the diseases spread throughout poor communities, people of color, and the homeless
The epicenter of infectious diseases is the Correctional System.
Prison health care is a public safety issue
One in 31 adults in the U.S. primary health care provider is prison health care which is one the most expensive heath care providers in the country and provides less than suboptimal care
90% of inmates will return to communities uninsured
In 2008, 7.3 million adults, one in 31 adults, were in the U.S. correctional systems (federal and state prison, county jails, parole, and probation) this is the combined populations of Chicago, Philadelphia, San Diego, and Dallas and larger than the populations of 38 states and the District of Columbia
In 1999, 31.4% of 7.2 million inmates nationwide were infected with hepatitis C
In 2000, California’s prison system had the dubious distinction of being the largest prison population (170,000) and 42.6% inmates were infected with hepatitis C
90% of inmates are released from correctional systems - majority are under the age of 35, uninsured, untreated, and undiagnosed with communicable diseases - return to economically and medically underserved and overburdened communities
Annually, 6.5 million women will experience the risk of being with a partner who was incarcerated. Because of their culture and history of violence many women of color many will not ask or demand their partner use a condom
Ø Within the first 72 hours of release many ex-offenders will use drugs including injecting
Ø Within 6 days on average ex-offenders have unprotected sex with 1-3 partners
Ø An average of 30% of ex-offenders infect their primary sexual partner with HIV/AIDS or HCV
Ø In California, 850,000 children have at least one parent in the correctional system
Within three years of their release 60%-70% of ex-offenders will return to prison or jail leaving behind women, many who are single mothers, infected with hepatitis C or co-infected with HIV/AIDS
1 in every 100 people within the United States receives their health care through the prison healthcare system. 96% of these people will return to their local community-UNDIAGNOSED, INFECTED, UNINSURED, AND WILL BE LIVING WITH US. We can either acknowledge this fact or ignore it. BUT IT WILL NOT GO AWAY. THE IMPACT OF DENIAL IS ALREADY BEING FELT BY ALL OF US: HIGHER INSURANCE COSTS, HIGHER INFECTION AND MORTALITY RATES. WE LIVE EVERYDAY PAYING FOR OUR INACTION.
Women who become infected bear a greater burden than males. Not only does she face the possibility of becoming infected, she also faces the real issue of becoming pregnant. Those women who know that they are pregnant worry about transmitting the disease to their unborn child or to existing children. Then she must deal with the greater burden of caring for all of her children if she decides to do the treatment. Will she be to sick, to care for her children? How can she maintain well enough to work and do the treatment? Who will care for her children, if she is unable to do so? Who will care for her children if she dies? Should she delay treatment until her children are older?
The how’s and what if’s cloud her mind.
Society blames her for her condition. Denies her many of the opportunities so that she can raise her children and follow any sort of career path.
All women who are infected; all share a common concern. What will I do and how will I do it?
Lessons that we have learned
|Role of incarceration-How it impacts us all:|
From the Local Community Outward
The only common factor between both of the above communities is the correctional facilities located in their county. These counties are separated by 1200 miles-one in California, the other in Colorado
Prison Health Care
Why Prison Health Care is Important to all of us
Role of prison healthcare...the health care provider of 1 in every 100 adults
Define how prison health care impacts us all & ½ taxpayer dollars and communicable diseases
These are issues that must be addressed in our future
As a means of balancing budgets, many states are proposing to early releases of "non-violent" inmates. What people do not understand is as those ex-offenders are released, so too does the communicable diseases that they may be infected with. And women are hit the hardest.
Economic models we developed to determine the impact of early release programs, focus on healthcare, recidivism, impact on communities of commitments for public and private medical providers, and if they release 5, 000 or 10,000 inmates-which included a 60-70% recidivism rates, the costs to incarcerate and to demonstrate not just NET savings, but increase costs, plus an increase in prison healthcare costs
For the past several months, Hepatitis, AIDS, Research Trust (http://heart-intl.net/ ) have been working on mortality tables and charts. They have shown beyond a doubt that the US correctional system is the core, epicenter of infectious diseases. Either by not providing medical treatment or delaying medical treatment to inmates in the hopes that when these people are released back into society that some other governmental agency or charity will provide those former inmates with healthcare. Approximately, 65% of people release from prison will return within 3 years of release. Bringing with them whatever illness they had previously but this time they are sicker and need medical treatment via a hospital.
Money is not saved by denying treatment, it only costs more in time.