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Eighteen Jails and Their Public Health Partnership Initiatives.

Editor's Note: Any opinions expressed herein are the authors' end do not necessarily reflect those of the US Department of Justice or the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Public health officials recently have come to understand one thing about jails -- jails and correctional facilities, at least in terms of infectious disease, can be "ground zero" for community public health or a public health disaster. The health care status of offenders in jail is a key public health indicator. If the prevalence of infectious diseases exceeds threshold levels, it can be considered a sentinel event indicating that the "free world" public health system may not be functioning as it should and that an epidemic in the community may be forthcoming.

The 1993 Census of Jails reported that 6,711 inmates were known to be HIV-positive and 1,888 had confirmed AIDS. The infection rate was highest in larger jail jurisdictions. Recently, nearly 25 percent of all newly diagnosed cases of syphilis in Illinois were tracked to the Cook County Jail.

Recognizing the need for fostering jail and public health partnerships, last October, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and their partners, the Health Resources and Services Administration, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, Chicago Department of Public Health and Bristol Meyers Squibb Immunology, sponsored a conference designed to foster partnerships between jails, and public health and community-based care and service providers.

Teams were comprised of six jail and public health professionals from 18 jurisdictions. The conference represented a significant step toward generating a collaboration between public health and corrections at a local level. Coordination among these organizations is necessary to support surveillance, prevention and public health care activities for HIV, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), tuberculosis (FB) and other health conditions within jail settings that extend into the community upon an inmate's release.

Jails provide a unique opportunity to access hard-to-reach populations for disease identification, treatment and follow-up once they are released. The goal of the conference was to provide the 18 teams with an opportunity to assess their community public health needs, identify the appropriate nexus between the jail and community public health, and design blueprints for future action.

Not only can inmates benefit from treatment and preventive health care, but the community at large can as well. Development of effective strategies that include local jails is now seen as an essential way to address the current epidemics of HIV, STDs, TB and substance abuse that impact many of our communities.

It is hoped that these 18 jails and their experiences implementing "blueprints for action" will become catalysts or models for the development of additional jail and public health partnerships across the country. To this end, CDC and NIJ have funded a conference follow-up. A contractor, Abt Associates Inc., will be checking the progress of each site on a quarterly basis, ensuring that it is moving toward achieving its public health goals. At the conclusion of a year's follow-up, the contractor will deliver a final report to CDC and NIJ, outlining lessons learned from each site's successes and failures. This research will be used for developing future strategies for partnership development and meeting technical assistance needs within the original 18 jurisdictions and future sites interested in developing partnership models.

NIJ and CDC have collaborated on a number of publications that are of interest to those in the field of correctional health care. To obtain a free copy of the following publications, contact the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, Box 6000, Rockville, MD 20849-6000; 1-800-851-3420; email: askncjrs.aspensys.com.

* 1996-1997 Update: HIV/AIDS, STDs and TB in Correctional Facilities, 1999. (NCJ 176344)

* Telemedicine Can Reduce Correctional Health Care Costs: An Evaluation of a Prison Telemedicine Network, 1999 (NCJ 175040)

* Case Management in the Criminal Justice System, 1999 (NCJ 173409)

* Public Health/Corrections Collaborations: Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS, STDs and TB, 1998 (NCJ 169590)

* Controlling Tuberculosis in Community Corrections, 1995 (NCJ 153211)

Other publications of interest can be obtained from CDC's Public Health and Corrections Web site: www.cdc.gov/nchstp/od/cccwg.

Marilyn Moses and Andrew L. Goldberg are social science analysts with the US. Department of Justice's NIJ. John R. Miles and Karina Krane are public health professionals at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' CDC.
COPYRIGHT 2000 American Correctional Association, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); National Institute of Justice (NIJ); Health Resources and Services Administration; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration; Chicago Department of Public Health; Bristol Meyers Squibb Immunology
Author:Moses, Marilyn C.; Miles, John R.; Krane, Karina; Goldberg, Andrew L.
Publication:Corrections Today
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Oct 1, 2000
Words:721
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