The Vera Institute’s Substance Use and Mental Health program announced the creation of Justice and Health Connect, a website “designed to improve coordination between justice and health care systems.” The website is also supported by Department of Justice's OJP Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Justice and Health Connect explained the goals of its new website:
To Address Health Disparities: People in jail or prison experience disproportionately high rates of chronic, acute, and behavioral health problems compared to the general population (Binswanger et al. 2011). Information sharing between public health and correctional health systems can inform policies aiming to reduce health disparities in under-served populations.
To Reduce Costs: Treating people with serious mental illness in correctional settings is expensive and often ineffective. Shifting treatment into the community can save significant amounts of public resources. A 2011 study found that treating individuals with serious mental illness in a criminal justice setting cost twice as much as providing treatment in the community (Swanson et al., 2011).
To Increase Access to Treatment: People in prisons and jails have significant chronic medical, psychiatric, or substance-use problems, yet poor access to treatment in correctional facilities as well as in the community (Wilper et al. 2009). Better communication between corrections agencies and community-based treatment organizations can create new opportunities for health interventions and increase the likelihood that people with chronic health conditions will receive the help they need (Wang et al., 2012; Morrissey et al., 2006).
To Reduce Crime: Many people with substance use and mental health needs find themselves caught in a revolving door of repeated arrest and incarceration. Providing effective treatment to people with substance use and mental health problems lowers rates of re-arrests