Symposium on the Affordable Care Act and Criminal Justice

Symposium on the Affordable Care Act and Criminal Justice

Amy Solomon, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, participated in a symposium on “Health Behind Bars” in New York on October 21-22. Organized by the John Jay Center on Media, Crime, and Justice, the symposium launched a two-year journalism fellowship program designed to inform reporters from print, online, and broadcast outlets across the country about the potential impact of the ACA on the criminal justice system. The event brought together policymakers and professionals from the corrections, health care, and non-profit advocacy fields. Topics of discussion ranged from the ACA’s impact on health coverage and outcomes, to its effect on pre-trial diversion, to considerations for effective reentry practices.

Symposium on the Affordable Care Act and Criminal JusticeIt is widely known that the incarcerated population carries a high disease burden, with substantially higher rates of medical, psychiatric, and addiction problems than the general public. The difficulty that these individuals experience in obtaining health coverage and services upon release has also been well documented, as have the negative consequences of their lack of access to care on public health, public safety, and public spending. What is less well understood is the impact that the Affordable Care Act may have on addressing these challenges.

The benefits of improving access to treatment are compelling and cost-effective—not only for those individuals who receive treatment, but for their families and communities and the public at-large. To read a full copy of Ms. Solomon’s remarks on “The Affordable Care Act’s Imprint on Correctional Health Care,” click here. To view resources from other presenters and panelists, click here.