Society for Social Work and Research

Sixteenth Annual Conference Research That Makes A Difference: Advancing Practice and Shaping Public Policy
11-15 January 2012 I Grand Hyatt Washington I Washington, DC

15905 Health and Justice: The Health Care Services and Needs of Men Involved In Community-Based Corrections

Thursday, January 12, 2012: 2:00 PM
Farragut Square (Grand Hyatt Washington)
* noted as presenting author
Pamela Valera, PhD, MSW, Assistant Professor, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University, Bronx, NY
Introduction: One of the most profound challenges facing America society with far less notice, is the number of individuals in community-based corrections (parole or probation, alternative to incarceration (ATI) programs ), approximately 5 million individuals are under some form of criminal justice supervision. Researchers have called attention for more policies around better prevention and treatment among high risk adults who have extensive criminal justice histories, particularly ethnic minority men. In the absence of data on health seeking among ethnic minority men with criminal justice histories, this study explores their health care needs and decisions to access health and human services in the Bronx, New York.

Methods: Thirty men currently involved in criminal justice system (e.g., parole/probation or ATI programs) participated in in-depth face-to-face interviews. The transcripts were analyzed using narrative analysis (Kleinman, 1988) to investigate and interpret how men aged 35-60 navigated the reentry process and health care services in New York City. The narratives were classified into three types as suggested by Frank (1995): restitution, chaos and quest.

Findings: Participants were predominately Black and Latino, with the mean age of 43 years old. The participants' involvement with the criminal justice system varied, however, every participant attended programs to address substance abuse issues upon release. The health status of the participants were poor. Most men were diagnosed with an infectious disease (e.g., Hepatitis C, HIV), and/or a chronic condition (e.g., asthma, hypertension, high blood pressure, addiction). All participants immediately sought social service agencies to reinstate welfare benefits such as Medicaid and food stamps.

Conclusion: There is a need for health care policies to improve the screening, assessment and treatment programs for men involved in community-based corrections. This includes a better tracking system and linkages between health care providers and social service agencies especially for men with special health care needs. Results highlight the need to develop chronic care management programs for this population with the goals of improving quality and health outcomes and saving cost.