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Understanding the Public Health Implications of Prisoner Reentry in California: State-of-the-State Report

NCJ Number
Lois M. Davis; Malcolm V. Williams; Kathryn Pitkin Derose; Paul Steinberg; Nancy Nicosia; Adrian Overton; Lisa Miyashiro; Susan Turner; Terry Fain; Eugene Williams III
Date Published
252 pages
This state-of-the State report summarizes the state of prisoner reentry in California and the public health challenges that California faces in addressing the health care and rehabilitative needs of those returning from prison to local communities; recommendations are offered for improving California's planning and services so as to enhance efforts to meet the needs of the reentry population.
The study concludes that the current economic crisis, reductions in prison rehabilitative services, the increased numbers of individuals who will be housed and supervised at the county level, and a weakened safety net in the communities receiving these individuals all pose serious challenges to addressing the health needs of the reentry population; however, California's new public safety realignment plan and health care reform provide opportunities for meeting these challenges. The realignment plan not only provides the opportunity to reduce the size of the State's prison population and reduce the State's high parole revocation rates, it also focuses attention on the need to improve prerelease planning, develop better mechanisms to transition care from correctional health to safety-net providers, and create local partnerships among probation, law enforcement, county agencies, and community-based organizations. Realignment will enable low-level offenders to serve their time closer to home, thus enabling them to have better access to family members, employers, and community organizations. With public-safety realignment, counties may be able to improve the rehabilitation of offenders and assist them in reintegrating into communities; however, this will depend on sufficient funding for counties in implementing realignment and on counties' ability to develop the required expertise and service delivery systems that will effectively manage and rehabilitate this population. In addition, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provide important opportunities to expand health insurance coverage for the reentry population, improve access to drug treatment, and upgrade the management of their care. 10 figures, 9 tables, extensive references, and appended methodology and protocols