Healthcare & the Justice System
Assessment & Plan
“Upon release, discontinuity of care is the norm, and when continuity is established, it is often hindered by distrust, discrimination, poor communication, and racism in the health system.” A discussion of best practices.
Assist eligible patients to enroll in Medicaid to ensure smooth transitions of care once released from the justice system. When you encounter a patient with a history of incarceration, consider appropriate screening with validated screening tools for mental health and substance use disorders, and continuous care for these illnesses. Also consider inter-agency collaboration to involve stakeholders from medicine, social work, housing agencies and the justice system for patients with complex needs. Remember, involvement in the justice system is often linked with other features of structural vulnerability: asking your patients about their history of incarceration, and being curious about its impact, is a great first start.