A healthcare program tailored to the needs of recently released prisoners can significantly reduce recidivism, according to a new study led by a Yale researcher. The findings show how an approach that provides community-based primary care can play a role in the nationwide effort to decrease prison populations. The study was published by the journal BMJ Open.
Transitions Clinics are medical homes in 12 states and Puerto Rico that serve individuals recently released from incarceration who have chronic physical and behavioral health issues. This clinic care model is distinct because it employs community health workers who all have histories of incarceration. These workers accompany patients to appointments and also help them with the social, housing, and employment challenges of returning to their communities.
Led by associate professor of medicine at Yale Dr. Emily Wang, the research analyzed data on nearly 200 individuals recently released from incarceration in Connecticut. Half of them received primary care at a Transitions Clinic; the other half had similar medical and criminal justice histories and had access to primary care, but not at Transitions. The research estimates that if recidivist members of the control group had received Transitions Clinic care, they would have spent on average 25 fewer days in jail. Having access to health care and social support from community health workers reduces mental health or substance use problems that might otherwise result in patients going back to prison.
Dr. Susan H. Busch, Yale School of Public Health, co-authored the study.Tags: Friday Letter Submission