AAFP Position Paper Highlights Importance of Health Care for Incarcerated Individuals

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Posted Jun 14, 2017

The American Academy of Family Physicians has released a position paper titled "Incarceration and Health: A Family Medicine Perspective" that focuses on the health impact incarceration has on inmates and their families. The paper offers a succinct explanation of health issues during and after incarceration, and highlights actions family physicians can take to help with health issues related to incarceration, including a call to learn about the unique needs of incarcerated or formerly incarcerated individuals through resources such as the National Commission on Correctional Health Care.

"Family physicians are more likely than other clinicians to care for vulnerable populations, and patients who are or have been incarcerated have higher rates of chronic health conditions, mental illness and substance abuse than the general population," said Kenneth Lin, MD, MPH, who led the AAFP workgroup that developed the position paper.

The paper stresses that family physicians can promote individuals’ health during the important transition from correctional facilities to the community by supporting several things:

  • Reentry processes that begin prior to release
  • Collaborations between prison and community health services
  • Integrated models of care
  • Linkages to housing, employment and mental health support

AAFP is a supporting organization of NCCHC.

Read an article about the position paper that features Jeffrey Alvarez, MD, CCHP, medical director for the Maricopa County Jail System in Phoenix and AAFP liaison to the NCCHC board of directors »

Read the position paper »