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Reaching Seriously At-Risk Populations: Health Interventions in Criminal Justice Settings

NCJ Number
Health Education & Behavior Volume: 25 Issue: 1 Dated: February 1998 Pages: 99-120
Date Published
22 pages

A review of recent literature indicates that potential problems faced by the more than 6 million people under some form of criminal justice supervision in the United States include high rates of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), tuberculosis, substance abuse, and other health problems.


Many under criminal justice supervision are seriously at risk and require appropriate health interventions, particularly since many have had little prior access to primary health care and other health interventions and they often return to their communities without critical preventive health information and skills, appropriate medical services, and other necessary support. Periods of incarceration and other criminal justice supervision offer important opportunities to provide a range of health interventions, and general evaluations show the potential of such strategies. Public health and criminal justice agencies have the expertise and should collaborate to provide health interventions needed by incarcerated populations. Because many recently released inmates require primary care for HIV/AIDS, other STDs, and tuberculosis, timely discharge planning is essential. Linkages with community-based organizations and agencies that can provide medical care, health education, and necessary support services should also be established. HIV/AIDS interventions in adult and juvenile facilities are described, along with treatment strategies for STDs, tuberculosis, and substance abuse. Community corrections interventions and alternatives to incarceration are considered. 98 references

Date Published: January 1, 1998