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COCHS and Health Affairs

Dr. Homer Venters:
Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
as Human Rights Tool

At the COCHS and Health Affairs conference held on April 3rd, 2014, in Washington D.C., Homer Venters, Assistant Commissioner of Correctional Health Services, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, explained how EHR technology in corrections can be used as a tool for monitoring human rights.

Dr. Homer Venter's testimony in front of New York State’s Assembly Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Assembly Committee on Health, and Assembly Committee on Correction

In his statement, Dr. Venters, the Senior Health and Justice Fellow for COCHS, details the benefits of medication assisted treatment (MAT) in places of detention. In his experience, Dr. Venters has seen first-hand the stabilizing impact that MAT can have on the health of individuals, their ability to maintain healthy relationships, employment and housing. MAT lowers mortality behind bars, not only for overdose deaths but for overall mortality. Read more...

Do Jails Kill?

Reporters have virtually no access to the jails on Rikers Island, but, for many years, Homer Venters had a rare vantage point from which to observe its inner workings. He started working on Rikers in 2008, overseeing health care for thousands of people imprisoned there. On an island known for abuse and violence, Venters became a legendary figure; he often spoke about human rights and was known for his persistent advocacy on behalf of inmates. He left the city’s jail-health service in 2017, and now he has written a crucially important book, “Life and Death in Rikers Island,” in which he examines one of the most overlooked aspects of mass incarceration: the health risks of being locked up Read more...