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Incarceration is a Public Health Issue

Published on: November 02, 2022.


More than 600,000 individuals

are released from prisons each year

About this Data Insights

The unmet health needs of incarcerated people contribute to a public health crisis that disproportionately impacts Black and Brown men and women, and exacerbates existing health conditions for the almost 2 million Americans behind bars. These health challenges continue through reentry when more than 600,000 people return to the community each year. This reentry population experiences high rates of mental health issues, suicide, substance use disorders, disabilities, and physical disorders. Strengthening health care for incarcerated people and during reentry can reduce these disparities and recidivism.

Citations
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6.9 million: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Incarceration & Reentry

More than 600,000: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Incarceration & Reentry

Current and former inmates have significantly higher rates of: Acker J, Braveman P, Arkin E, Leviton L, Parsons J, Hobor G. Mass Incarceration Threatens Health Equity in America. Executive Summary. Princeton, NJ: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2019.

The reentry population has disproportionate rates of: “Prison And Jail Reentry And Health, " Health Affairs Health Policy Brief, October 28, 2021. DOI: 10.1377/hpb20210928.343531

More chronic conditions than entered: Acker J, Braveman P, Arkin E, Leviton L, Parsons J, Hobor G. Mass Incarceration Threatens Health Equity in America. Executive Summary. Princeton, NJ: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2019.

Ability to secure basic needs after reentry: “Prison And Jail Reentry And Health, " Health Affairs Health Policy Brief, October 28, 2021. DOI: 10.1377/hpb20210928.343531


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