April 2, 2020
Over 100 million Americans have criminal records, and the U.S. incarcerates seven times more citizens than most developed countries. The burden of incarceration disproportionately affects people of color and ethnic minorities, and those living in poverty. While 95% of incarcerated people return to society, recidivism rates are high with nearly 75% arrested again within five years of release. Criminal records impede access to employment and other social services such as shelter and health care.
Academic health centers (AHCs), particularly those that are publicly funded institutions, have as their mission the treatment of disadvantaged populations, the training of the next generation of clinicians, and the development and dissemination of new knowledge to reduce the burden of disease and improve the health of individuals and populations. Incarcerated populations have the most prevalent and acute disease burden and health disparities in the United States, even in comparison with inner-city populations.
Refoundry participants, husband-and-wife Hector and Raven, faced significant barriers to financial stability, secure housing and access to quality health care when they joined our program.
According to the latest figures from the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, our correctional population is comprised of about 6.6 million people. The sheer number of those who are incarcerated or supervised by parole agencies is jarring, but it doesn’t begin to tell the whole story of the epidemic facing our country.
Our nation’s correctional population is about 6.6 million including those individuals supervised by probation and/or parole agencies, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Over two million of those are incarcerated and in the custody of a state or federal prison or local jail. It has been reported time and time again that inmates have greater health needs than those living in the community, including higher rates of Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, mental health issues and substance use disorder.