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To Improve Public Health and Safety, One Sheriff Looks Beyond the Jail Walls

NCJ Number
Health Affairs Volume: 33 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2014 Pages: 511-514
Michael J. Ashe
Date Published
March 2014
4 pages
This article describes the efforts of the Hampden County Sheriff's Department in Massachusetts to improve the quality of health care provided to justice-involved individuals.
This article, written by the current sheriff of Hampden County, Massachusetts, describes his efforts to improve the quality of health care provided to inmates in the county jail. The sheriff describes the philosophy that he uses in his department as well as in the jail - to treat each person as an individual and not as a number, and also that jail can be used as an opportunity for change. The goals of the Hampden County jail are to provide every inmate with the tools they will need to return to the community and successfully build a new life. The article highlights model for inmate care that has been implemented at the county jail. Each inmate receives an individualized service plan developed to meet their specific health care needs, including those for mental health and substance use disorders. The jail also works with community-based health care providers to ensure that inmates released back into the community continue to receive the care that they need for a successful reentry.