Public Health Behind Bars: From Prisons to Communities

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Robert Greifinger
Springer Science & Business Media, 2007 M10 4 - 576 pages
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Projecting correctional facility-based health care into the community arena, Public Health Behind Bars: From Prisons to Communities examines the burden of illness in the growing prison population, and analyzes the considerable impact on public health as prisoners are released. More than forty practitioners, researchers, and scholars in correctional health, mental health, law, and public policy make a timely case for correctional health care that is humane for those incarcerated and beneficial to the communities they reenter. These authors offer affirmative recommendations toward that evolutionary step.

Chapter authors identify the most compelling health problems behind bars (including communicable disease, mental illness, addiction, and suicide), pinpoint systemic barriers to care, and explain how correctional medicine can shift from emergency or crisis care to primary care and prevention. In addition, strategies are outlined that link community health resources to correctional facilities so that prisoners can transition to the community without unnecessarily taxing public resources or falling through the cracks. Between the authors’ research findings and practical suggestions, readers will find realistic answers to these and similar questions:

  • Can transmission of HIV, tuberculosis, and other communicable diseases be reduced and prevented among prisoners?
  • How can correctional facilities treat addiction more effectively?
  • What can be done to improve diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders?
  • Can correctional care benefit from quality management and performance measurement?
  • How can care be coordinated between correctional and community health care providers?
  • What are the health risks to communities if action is not taken?

Public Health Behind Bars: From Prisons to Communities is a challenge of immediate interest to readers in correctional health and medicine, public and community health, health care administration and policy, and civil rights.

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About the author (2007)

Robert B. Greifinger, M.D., is a medical management consultant. He has extensive experience in the development and management of complex community and institutional health care programs. His current clients include managed care organizations and state and local correctional systems. Greifinger frequently serves as a court-appointed expert to report on ailing correctional health systems. He is also an adjunct Professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Previously, he was the Chief Medical Officer for the New York State of Correctional Services, which was responsible for the health care of 68,000 inmates.

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