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Quality Monitoring, Evolving Since Nineteenth Century, Can Improve Prison Health Care

The Pew Charitable Trusts

By Matt McKillop

This is the seventh analysis in a series examining how health care is funded and delivered in state-run prisons, as well as how care continuity is facilitated upon release.

The health care that prisons provide affects more than simply the well-being of incarcerated people. Inadequate treatment for infectious diseases and behavioral health conditions, for example, can undermine efforts to strengthen public health and safety in the communities to which individuals return. Assessments of what taxpayers are getting for their prison health care dollars and how that compares to other states depends on an evaluation of the care provided.

Nevertheless, policymakers and administrators do not always have the information they need—or regularly use what they do have—to proactively identify shortcomings and make improvements to care quality, risking ill-informed uses of scarce resources and missed opportunities.

first-of-its-kind report by The Pew Charitable Trusts details whether and how states monitor the quality of care they provide.

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