Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health: Primary Care in Correctional Settings

Date of Review: April, 2019

This resource is a 35 minute video lecture about providing primary care in correctional settings including the similarities and differences between jails and prisons. Health guidelines and standards have enabled primary care practice due in large part to the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare and the American Correctional Association. The importance of early and comprehensive screening is detailed as there are several resources for treatment but are only available if individuals are linked to these treatments immediately. A focus on mental health screening is described as well as challenges regarding lack of access to condoms and emergency contraception. Opportunities in this field are outlined such as education; prevention; early detection; and identification of common communicable disease, mental health and substance-abuse diagnoses. The system plays an important role in identifying all of these from a public health perspective. Linkages to care upon re-entry is a significant gap for these individuals. A model describing health providers in the community health center and county jail shows an innovative way to support attempts at continuity care. Challenges to primary care in prison health are also discussed including the high burden or illness and disproportionate risks and inherent trust challenges predicated by the environment. This is a voice over PowerPoint video however the content is relevant to pre-clinical students doing correctional medicine or family medicine electives. It could also be used as part of a ‘flipped classroom’ in a health equity or disparities curriculum. Given the amount of content, faculty could require some parts as pre-work. It would be nice to have access to slides to give or modify the lecture oneself. This module is part of an online student curriculum aimed at teaching medical students about criminal justice and guidelines on caring for justice-involved patients. Specific screening, management, treatment and advocacy approaches are described in the seven 30-40 minute correctional health curriculum’s video lectures, which is part of an offering from the ACCJH. The ACCJH built this curriculum with partners from the University of Massachusetts, Harvard and Cornell with the goal of education and inspiring students to become advocates. — Ashti Doobay-Persaud, MD, NCEAS

Corresponding Author’s Email: 


Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey

Source of the Curriculum/Resource:


Relevant Specialty:

Family and Community Medicine

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