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Caring for Those in Custody: Identifying High Priority Needs To Reduce Mortality in Correctional Facilities

NCJ Number
Joe Russo; Dulani Woods; John S. Shaffer; Brian A. Jackson
Date Published
42 pages
This project identifies high priority needs that must be addressed to reduce inmate deaths and improve their safety and health.
The needs and recommendations discussed were compiled by an expert panel of prison and jail administrators, researchers, and health care professionals. This effort stemmed from data reported by the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, which show that in 2014, the last year when inmate deaths were reported, 4,980 inmates died. This was a 3-percent increase from 2013. The current report advises that correctional facilities should provide medical and mental health services comparable to a community-level standard of care. Correctional facilities must also do a better job of balancing security and health-care objectives, so that there is sufficient commitment among policymakers managers, and staff to providing resources that address inmates' medical, mental health and substance abuse treatment. The report also emphasizes the expansion of medication-assisted therapies and drug overdose countermeasures. Also discussed are best practices in suicide risk assessment and prevention, more and better data that guide priorities in inmate health care, and more effective discharge planning for community-based health services. Extensive tables and figures and an 82-item bibliography