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About Jails

Jail Health Care

It is not commonly understood that jails are an important locus of health care for the populations cycling through them. Listed below are documents that give an in depth description of the health care provided in jails.

(For those who have not yet watched The Unseen Provider, this eight minute documentary also provides excellent information about jails. Click here to view.)

Hampden County's Correctional Health Care Model

COCHS was established in 2006 to promote a public health model of correctional health care that was developed in Hampden County, Massachusetts. This model treats inmates as individuals temporarily displaced. Instead of silo-ed health care, inmates' health needs are integrated between corrections and community. Read more..

The Promise Story
The Promise story is a short video that describes how Hampden County fosters partnerships between local jails and community health providers.View video...

When the Old Sheriff Leaves Town
Former COCHS board member, Mike Ashe retires as sheriff of Hampden County, Massachusetts. Sheriff Ashe brought community health providers into his jail because he understood that inmates were temporarily displaced community members and continuity of care was important for their successful re-entry. This model was the impetus for the creation of COCHS by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2006. Read more...

Health Intake, Assessment, and Routine Care Processes in County Jails

This paper explains the difference between jails and prisons and then proceeds to describe various health care procedures that occur within a jail setting. The flow charts below detail a step-by-step description of these procedures.

Flow Charts
Intake Process
Sick Call
Discharge Planning

Dr. Keith Barton, Medical Director of COCHS
Michael Dubose, CEO of COCHS
Edward Harrison, CCHP, President of the National Commission on Correctional Health Care

Background Facts for Working Group on Health Reform and Criminal Justice

This background fact sheet details who is cycling through our nation's jails. It includes demographic information as well as information about the health status of those incarcerated.

Prepared by COCHS staff

Jails and Health Information Technology: A Framework For Creating Connectivity

An underlying connectivity framework of three macro systems collects and communicates health care data about incarcerated individuals: jail management systems, jail health systems, and community health systems. Ideally, all three systems would communicate seamlessly.

connectivity framework: please click display images

But no jail serves as a model for connecting all three systems. Five case studies presented in this paper, detail how different jurisdictions have implemented or are attempting to implement various parts of this connectivity framework. It is intended that jurisdictions can learn from these case studies and use them as templates for their own connectivity efforts.

Ben Butler, COCHS

The Triple Aims of Correctional Health: Patient Safety, Population Health, and Human Rights

Correctional health systems represent some of the largest health systems in the United States, caring for patients with high rates of morbidity and mortality. The poorly understood realm of correctional health care represents a missed opportunity to integrate care for these patients with care provided by community health providers. Three aims are integral to effective correctional health: patient safety, population health, and human rights. Patient safety and population health are well- defi ned aims in community health care systems and emerging in correctional settings. Dual loyalty and other unique challenges in correctional settings make the human rights aim absolutely essential for promoting correctional health.

Ross MacDonald, MD
Amanda Parsons, MD, MBA
Homer D. Venters, MD, MS

United States Senate Briefing

Health Care Behind Bars: A Key to Population Health?

Panel 1: Former Inmates

Panel 1: Slides

Panel 2: Corrections Officials

At the invitation of Senator Jay Rockefeller, Senator Roy Blunt and The Alliance for Health Reform, Steven Rosenberg, the President of COCHS, spoke on two panels at the United States Senate. In the first panel, he gave an overview of the health care needs of people cycling through the criminal justice system, and in the second panel, he explained how health care policy impacts the lives of these justice involved individuals.

Keynote Speech:
The Present and Future of Correctional Health and Mental Health Care

On December 9, 2014, at the NYS Correctional Medical and Behavioral Healthcare Workshop, Steven Rosenberg gave the keynote speech. In this speech, he described the future of correctional health care and the way managed care principals will change the relationship between health care in the community and health care in corrections. Read more...

This speech was reprinted in the Correctional Mental Health Report. To access that version, click here...