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About Jails

Jails v. Prisons
and Jail Health Care

There is much confusion about the difference between jails and prisons. Also 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 describe the differences between jails and prisons as well as giving 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.)

United States Senate Briefing

Health Care Behind Bars: A Key to Population Health?

Panel 1: Former Inmates

Panel 1: Slides

Panel 2: Corrections Officials

Topic
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.

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

Topic
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

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

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

Topic
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.

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

Background Facts for Working Group on Health Reform and Criminal Justice

Topic
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.

Author
Prepared by COCHS staff

Jails and Health Information Technology: A Framework For Creating Connectivity

Topic
This paper identifies an underlying connectivity framework of three macro systems that collect and communicate health care data about detainees: 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.

Author
Ben Butler, COCHS