This chapter in the book Public Health Behind Bars discusses how collaborations between public health and correctional agencies have evolved and represent an important opportunity for addressing the gaps in health care services. This chapter includes a conceptual model for how corrections, community health, and public health form a “triad” to maintain the health and safety of the entire community.
In this chapter the authors provide a compelling rationale for why community health and corrections need to collaborate and explain the essential role of information and data in building inter-agency cooperation. They make the case that the missions of public health and corrections agencies can be complementary and highlight numerous areas where information sharing and collaboration can deliver significant benefits to public health and public safety, including diversion programs, quality assurance efforts, clinical protocol development, discharge planning/transitional services, and laboratory services. The authors include a review of the community-health model for corrections which treats people in jails as patients of the community treatment network. Finally, the authors argue that there is a public health opportunity if corrections and community health providers are willing to work more closely towards a shared mission.