Providing constitutional health care in jails often proves challenging to jail administrators. Specific recent imperatives in jail health care—including implementation of the Affordable Care Act and safely managing the mental health crisis—provide opportunities to improve quality and efficiency. This is especially important in larger jails where the scale of operations presents unique challenges and the number of patients affected is significant.
Prisoners are among the groups most heavily impacted by HIV with an estimated prevalence three to five times higher than the general population. The period following release from corrections is associated with significant lapses in care. Although model programs to support linkage to care following incarceration exist, there is no systemic framework for evaluating such programs.
Health information about prisoners is excluded from national databases. The lack of health information on prisoners reduces the estimate of true prevalence of diseases in the United States. Without sufficient representation of disease prevalence of both civilian and non-civilian populations, funding decisions are based on an underrepresentation of the true need. This underrepresentation disproportionately affects lower socioeconomic minorities and has an impact on measuring health disparities especially in cardiovascular disease.