Weekly Update: February 07, 2023

COCHS Weekly Update: February 07, 2023

Highlighted Stories

COCHS: Major Change To Medicaid "Inmate Exclusion" Policy
Last week Dan Mistak sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to our subscribers detailling the implications of the 1115 waiver that CMS granted to California. This waiver permits Medicaid coverage to incarecerated people 90 days prior to release. Other news outlets and organizations recognized the momentous nature of this decision and have published the following articles: Manatt - CMS Approves First-in-Nation Justice-Involved Reentry Section 1115 Demonstration; and State of Reform - California becomes first state to expand Medicaid to incarcerated individuals.

ASPE Report To Congress: Health Care Transitions for Individuals Returning to the Community from a Public Institution: Promising Practices Identified by the Medicaid Reentry Stakeholder Group
Reentry to the community after incarceration in prison or jail is a transitional period. Health care transitions (including those related to health coverage, care, and medications) are critical aspects of this process. Given the substantial health needs, access to and continuation of care during reentry is crucial. However, returning community members face multiple health-related challenges which can hinder their ability to obtain coverage and successfully transition care. For low-income individuals with justice system involvement, Medicaid is a significant coverage option. An 1115 demonstration to allow Medicaid payment for pre-release care offers a significant potential opportunity to promote access to and continuity of health coverage and care for returning community members.

Psychiatric Times: Connection, Hope, Purpose, and Empowerment for Justice-Involved Individuals Reentering the Community
Limitations of reentry programming, coupled with inconsistent community funding and limited resources, create a game-changing opportunity for an approach that can be applied flexibly. Recovery-oriented cognitive therapy (CT-R) fits this bill. It is theory-driven, empirically supported, and designed to promote recovery and resiliency for individuals with serious mental health conditions. CT-R has been successfully implemented in a variety of forensic mental health settings across the country.

Reason: The U.S. Probation System Has Become a Quagmire
Shortly after becoming a mother in summer 2013, Jennifer Schroeder was arrested for a drug charge. Schroeder, who lives outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to serve 365 days in Wright County Jail. And 40 years on probation.

The Crime Report: Native Americans Significantly Overrepresented In US Prisons
According to the report, Native American people are incarcerated 38 percent over the national average and are overrepresented in the prison populations of 19 states compared to other races and ethnicities. In North Dakota, where Native American people constitute just under 6 percent of the population according to most recent Census data, Native incarceration rates jump to seven times higher than the incarceration rates of white people.

Sexual Abuse

NPR: Assault by prison workers often goes unpunished, study finds
A new study finds that prison workers who assault the people in their custody rarely face legal consequences. The Justice Department findings are based on cases where assaults by corrections workers have been reported, investigated and substantiated. The report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics highlights how few consequences the abusers face.

BJS: Substantiated Incidents of Sexual Victimization Reported by Adult Correctional Authorities, 2016–2018
This report describes substantiated incidents of inmate sexual victimization by another inmate or by staff. It presents data on the incidents of sexual victimization, such as location and time of day. It also provides characteristics of the victims and perpetrators of the victimization. The report details services provided to the victim and consequences for the perpetrator.


ACCJH: Introduction to Department of Justice Funding for Researchers
Drs. Faye Taxman and David Farabee will discuss their experiences with Department of Justice (DOJ) funding mechanisms. They will detail the type of research and questions that are appropriate for these grants, the application process, and talk through examples with their successful history with DOJ grants. All researchers are encouraged to attend, especially those who have not yet applied for DOJ funding.

Justice Counts: Technical Implementation Guides
The Justice Counts Technical Implementation Guides—the first of their kind—equip criminal justice agencies with the resources they need to publish data that is both comparable to other agencies nationwide and customized to the realities of their own unique operations. With these guides in hand, criminal justice agencies can begin configuring and sharing the data policymakers need to make critical public safety decisions.

State Roundup

Montgomery Advertiser: Lawmakers delay $1B prison healthcare contract over cost, possible conflict of interest
Alabama lawmakers on Thursday put a temporary hold on a billion-dollar contract for a new prison healthcare provider (YesCare) over concerns with the proposal's cost and a possible conflict of interest between the provider and one of the prison system's primary outside attorneys. The alleged impropriety stems from one of ADOC’s primary private attorneys’ involvement with YesCare. Bill Lunsford, whom ADOC has paid tens of millions of dollars to over the years, previously held a seat on YesCare’s Board of Advisors.

MetroWest Daily News: Mass. criminal justice reform advocates push old argument on new Legislature
Criminal justice reform advocates are renewing their push, this time to a newly seated Legislature, to temporarily ban the construction or expansion of prisons and jails in the state. The bills referenced at the #NoNewWomensPrisons virtual campaign launch earlier this week would halt all planning, construction, renovation or expansion of any new or existing correctional facilities in the commonwealth for five years.

Mercury News: Early release from prison for organ donations? Maybe in this state
A proposal by a Massachusetts lawmaker would grant prisoners early release from their court imposed sentences of up to one year if they volunteer to donate their organs or bone marrow. If made law, the bill would “allow eligible incarcerated individuals to gain not less than 60 and not more than 365 day reduction in the length of their committed sentence on the condition that the incarcerated individual has donated bone marrow or organ(s),” the proposal reads in part.

WBUR: A new sheriff wants to close an aging Bristol County jail
Sheriff Paul Heroux has plans to overhaul the corrections system in Bristol County. Heroux is inheriting a 135-year-old jail where criminal justice advocates say poor conditions and substandard mental health services are driving a string of inmate deaths by suicide.

Houston Public Media: Harris County Jail making changes after state report finds inmate died from lack of medication
Harris County is making procedural changes in the jail after a state report found that medical staff failed to provide medication to an inmate who died last year. Matthew Shelton, 28, was booked into the Harris County Jail on March 22, 2022. Five days later, he was found unresponsive in his cell and later died in the jail’s clinic from “diabetic ketoacidosis,” according to his custodial death report.

VT Digger: ‘Not enough oversight’: Scandals in Vermont sheriffs’ departments spur legislative action
Eight of Vermont’s 14 counties are poised to swear in new sheriffs. The outgoing sheriffs include Peter Newton of Addison County, arrested in June on charges of sexually assaulting and unlawfully restraining a woman, and Chad Schmidt of Bennington County, who has acknowledged spending a third of the year in Tennessee since the Covid-19 pandemic. These reports have prompted key legislators to propose significant reforms. One bill, S.17, would end the decades-old policy that allows sheriffs to personally pocket up to 5% of the revenue from their department’s contract work.

VT Digger: Vermont is shutting down some prison work programs
For years, incarcerated Vermonters have made furniture, street signs, and paper products for state and local governmental entities. Now those programs are shutting down, amid what corrections officials say is a larger shift toward vocational training. Some programs will not be affected by the shift. Vermont Correctional Industries’ license plate shop will continue to operate.

San Diego

East County Magazine: Sheriff Unveils Sweeping Changes To Reduce Jail Deaths, Improve Health And Safety In County Detention Facilities
San Diego County jails have in recent years had the highest number of jail deaths of any major county in California. Many of those deaths have been due to drug overdoses, including Fentanyl. That’s prompted an investigation by the state auditor and calls for reforms from politicians. Now, newly elected Sheriff Kelly Martine has announced numerous changes(link is external) aimed at improvement the health and safety of people in custody.

Mandated Population Reduction

KARE: Ramsey County sheriff ordered to shrink jail population
Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner (DOC) Paul Schnell ordered Ramsey Country Sheriff Bob Fletcher to limit the capacity of the Ramsey County Jail to 360 inmates on Friday, alleging a number of minimum standard violations. The letter makes note of four separate incidents in which the DOC alleges inmates in the jail were not given proper medical care. Ramsey County Public Health informed the Department of Corrections that the jail staff failed to transport inmates to medical appointments that were deemed "necessary" by the health authority.

Pioneer Press: Ramsey County officials say they self-reported jail issues to DOC
Ramsey County officials said Saturday that after months of futilely attempting to notify the sheriff of their concerns about delayed or denied medical treatment of inmates at the Ramsey County Jail, they were the ones who initiated an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

Solitary Confinement

Texas Public Radio: Texas lawmaker, prison advocates push for solitary confinement reform
Rep. Terry Meza, D-Irving, filed three bills last month ahead of the 2023 legislative session aimed at reforming solitary confinement. Her main concern during this strike, Meza said, is the consequences of solitary. House Bill 812 proposes limiting an inmate's time in solitary confinement to no more than 10 days. A second bill, HB 480, seeks to prevent an inmate from being put in solitary confinement for gang involvement.

Involuntary Detainment

HuffPost: NYC's Involuntary Hospitalization Plan Can Proceed, A Judge Rules
A judge ruled that New York City’s controversial plan to allow first responders to involuntarily hospitalize homeless people with mental illnesses can proceed. Under Mayor Eric Adams’ plan, which faced backlash and legal challenges shortly after it was introduced in November, first responders would have the authority to remove and involuntarily hospitalize anyone on the streets who “appears to be mentally ill” or “displays an inability to meet basic living needs.”

News Tribune: Pierce County TB patient has violated health orders for a year. Could jail be next?
On Monday, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department announced it was monitoring a patient with active tuberculosis who had declined treatment. Court records reveal the woman has not abided by multiple court orders to remain isolated and has declined treatment for more than a year. As part of a court order, we may request assistance from local law enforcement if needed to help ensure people take their medication. This step is very rare.

Criminal Justice's Detrimental Impact On Life

New York Times: Authorities Used a Taser on Him 7 Times in 15 Minutes. Then He Died. Justice Never Came.
In 2018, Jerod Draper, a 40-year-old father in southern Indiana high on methamphetamines, was arrested during a traffic stop. Several hours later, the man died. Using surveillance video from the jail cell where Mr. Draper was confined, the film chillingly describes the prisoner’s last grueling hours. Rather than receive the medical care he desperately needed to address a drug overdose, Mr. Draper was subjected to various heavy-handed restraint techniques, including Taser shocks that opened bloody wounds on his thighs.

Correctional Providers

CorrectionalNurse.net: Manifesto Proposition One: Treating Incarcerated Persons like Patients
As correctional nurses we have signed on to provide “evidence-based nursing to protect, promote, and optimize health and abilities; prevent illness and injury; facilitate healing; alleviate suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response with care and respect; and advocate for individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations under the jurisdiction of the justice system. The ANA Code for Nurses provides a helpful foundation for valuing. In particular, the inherent nursing values of human dignity and worth of every individual is emphasized.