The Health Status of Soon-To-Be-Released Inmates, A Report to Congress, Volume 2, 2002

Through the mid-1990s, a number of studies, limited in scope, found a higher prevalence of certain infectious diseases, chronic diseases, and mental illness among prison and jail inmates. Further, each year the Nation’s prisons and jails release more than 11.5 million inmates. The potential that ex-offenders may be contributing to the spread of infectious disease in the community became of increasing concern. In addition, as these ex-offenders’ diseases get worse, society may have to pay substantially more to treat them than if these conditions had been treated at an earlier stage—or prevented altogether—while these individuals were still incarcerated.