COCHS Weekly Update: October 24, 2023

Highlighted Stories

Health Affairs: Measuring The Enduring Imprint Of Structural Racism On American Neighborhoods
Zachary Dyer and coauthors quantify historically contingent disparities in neighborhood resources and resulting health inequities through the creation of a Structural Racism Effect Index. Underlying these disparities are centuries of policies that harm populations of color, starting with American colonialism and slavery and extending to unequal access to Medicaid expansion and beyond, leading to current deficits in the availability of health-supporting resources in the places where they disproportionately live.

Vera: The United States Criminalizes People Who Need Health Care and Housing
Gaping holes in the social safety net and health care systems leave many without access to health care and housing in the United States. Yet, too often, people in need of these resources end up in jail and prison instead. The past decades of mass incarceration have shown that punishment does not improve public health, yet the United States continues to spend more than $80 billion a year on corrections. Criminalizing people who have health care and housing needs is counterproductive, harmful, and wasteful.

Sentencing Project: One in Five: Ending Racial Inequity in Incarceration
The lifetime likelihood of imprisonment among Black men born in 2001, although decreased, remains four times that of their white counterparts. Black women’s rate of imprisonment in 2021 was 1.6 times the rate of white women. These disparities are even more pronounced in certain states, and among those serving the longest sentences.

Hofstra Chronicle: School-to-prison pipeline uncovered and explained by expert panel
The school-to-prison pipeline is a systemic and disturbing phenomenon in the American educational system. The pipeline represents a set of policies, principles and practices … which disproportionately pushes students, specifically those of color, into marginalized communities and eventually into the criminal justice system.

AHRQ: Characteristics Of 30-Day All-Cause Hospital Readmissions, 2016-2020
From 2016 to 2020, the 30-day all-cause hospital readmission rate remained at 13.9 per 100 index admissions. But the number of readmissions decreased by 10 percent in 2020 compared with 2016-2019. In 2020, the readmission rate by race/ethnicity was highest among non-Hispanic Black patients and lowest among non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander patients (16.0 vs. 11.7 per 100 index admissions).


Health Affairs: Access To Long-Term Nursing Care For Justice-Involved Elderly
With the United States’ population rapidly aging, one facet remains largely unseen: Incarcerated people get old too. By 2030, one in three incarcerated people will be considered geriatric, as compared to one in five Americans overall. Unprepared for this challenge, our prisons have already begun to resemble nursing facilities, ill-equipped to address this public health crisis. Policy makers can protect the ethical and effective delivery of care to elderly incarcerated people by decarcerating frail patients with low public safety risk.


WSOC: 3 inmates at York County jail test positive for tuberculosis
Three inmates at the York County (NC) jail tested positive for tuberculosis, the sheriff’s office said Monday. Two of them were taken to a local hospital for precautionary measures. The first inmate was booked on Oct. 7 and the second on Oct. 8, officials said. The state health department and a local tuberculosis clinic will go to the jail to start contact tracing and testing staff and inmates.

State Roundup

Alabama Political Reporter: Several incarcerated people die amid more prison violence
The violence and death inside ADOC facilities continue as billions of dollars are being prepared to go towards funding one new prison and the yearly death toll continues to rise. The approximate death toll in Alabama prisons is unknown due to a lack of updated information and public knowledge. However, the number of incarcerated deaths in 2023 is likely around 180 to 190 without accounting for the months of July, August, September, and now two weeks into October.

Legislative Analyst Office: 2023-24 California Spending Plan, Judiciary and Criminal Justice
The 2023-24 budget provides $18.6 billion from the General Fund for judicial and criminal justice programs, including support for program operations and capital outlay projects. The budget provides $14.5 billion (mostly from the General Fund) for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). This is a net decrease of $723 million (5 percent) from the revised 2022-23 level. This decrease reflects various reduced costs, such as those associated with deactivation of several correctional facilities and the expiration of limited-term funding provided in prior years.

Bakersfield Now: Rising inmate deaths in Kern County spark scrutiny: A look into the health crisis behind bars
With only a few weeks into October, the Kern County Sheriff's office is now investigating the tenth inmate death of 2023. The inmate was a 60-year-old African-American man waiting for trial. But many are left questioning why so many inmates are dying in local jails. The current average is about one death a month.

Ohio Capital Journal: Ohio prisons could become even more crowded under proposed bill
A proposed bill in the Ohio House would send more people to the state’s already overcrowded and understaffed prisons. House Bill 230 would increase the penalties and change the quantities required for trafficking fentanyl, cocaine, heroin and meth. “Ohio’s prisons are meant to hold roughly 38,500 people — we are about 6,000 people above that mark right now,” Gary Daniels with the ACLU of Ohio said. “They are understaffed by roughly 2,000 people.”

AP: Lawsuit over death of autistic man in a Pittsburgh jail alleges negligence, systemic discrimination
Eleven days after 57-year-old Anthony Talotta arrived at a Pittsburgh jail, he died from what his family says was a treatable and preventable infection from a foot wound. In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, Talotta’s family alleges doctors and medical staff at the Allegheny County Jail provided substandard care. The lawsuit claims jail policies prohibiting prisoners with mental illness or developmental disabilities from being housed in the medical unit violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

San Diego County

San Diego Union Tribune: Minutes before dying in jail, man was sent back to cell instead of ER, independent probe finds
Minutes before Jerrell Dwayne Lacy was found unconscious in his Central Jail cell last year, an unidentified nurse was alarmed by the results of his electrocardiogram. The nurse was about to call 911 so Lacy could be moved to a hospital emergency room. But someone told San Diego sheriff’s deputies that Lacy was instead cleared to return to the jail’s housing module. The deputies needed a wheelchair to move Lacy back to his cell, where 12 minutes later he was found unresponsive — and soon died.


Vera: People Need Transportation Access After Release from Jail and Prison
The stability that reliable and affordable transportation provides allows people to avoid cycles of rearrest. Studies show that transportation access lowers the chances of recidivism, and programs that have successfully mitigated rearrest rates treat transportation as an essential service for their clients. Transportation barriers can also prevent people from getting the services they need. One study found that 17.5 percent of people on parole did not obtain necessary substance use treatment because of inconsistent transportation.

Star Tribune: Minnesota prison resource fairs pave the way for what comes next
The Minnesota Department of Corrections hosted a transitions fair at its Rush City facility on Thursday — connecting incarcerated men nearing the end of their sentences with state agencies, nonprofits and employers who could keep them moving forward when they leave prison, not back. Most of the men who attended will leave the correctional facility within the next 15 months.


Citrus County Chronicle: County vs CoreCivic
The saga of CoreCivic and Citrus County continues. The county has been fining CoreCivic, the operator of the county jail for some time due to their failure to maintain staffing levels as per the contract. Recently there was another $1,000 fine for not meeting contractual staffing.

Correctional Health Care Vendors

Washington Post: Man died after jail staff ignored him lying facedown for 3 days, family says
Maurice Monk, 45, died at the Santa Rita jail in Dublin, Calif., for about one month after his family could not afford to post his $2,500 bail. Jail staff did not properly administer Monk’s prescription medications for diabetes, schizophrenia and high blood pressure, leading to his “slow, torturous death,” the family alleged in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed last year. It names as defendants Alameda County, 15 employees from the sheriff’s office and other workers at the jail, and Wellpath Community Care — a company that provided the medical staff.