Mass Incarceration Impacting Public Health

Prisons are breeding parolees dependent on medications of all kinds.
Prisons are breeding parolees dependent on medications of all kinds. Close quartering enables spread of disease and health services are inconsistent across the “system.”

Jesus made this metaphor when he was speaking about those who’d be admitted into the kingdom

I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Mt. 2536

As the Thanksgiving weekend proceeds, I’m remembering that so many — excessively many — in the US are incarcerated.

I’m thankful we are beginning a broader, more open-minded dialogue on what the costs really are. The article linked herein cites a “Distinctly American (phenomena)” relating to public health impacts of imprisoning so many citizens.

So here is a bit of interesting Holiday Weekend reading for Inside Volunteers (and anyone else for that matter) to whom the spirit speaks “Love thy neighbor as thyself”…

New York Times excerpt:

When public health authorities talk about an epidemic, they are referring to a disease that can spread rapidly throughout a population, like the flu or tuberculosis.

But researchers are increasingly finding the term useful in understanding another destructive, and distinctly American, phenomenon — mass incarceration. This four-decade binge poses one of the greatest public health challenges of modern times, concludes a new report released last week by the Vera Institute of Justice.

For many obvious reasons, people in prison are among the unhealthiest members of society. Most come from impoverished communities where chronic and infectious diseases, drug abuse and other physical and mental stressors are present at much higher rates than in the general population. Health care in those communities also tends to be poor or nonexistent.

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