To the Editor:
“A Tie to Mental Illness in Violence Behind Bars” (Texas edition, Sept. 22) highlights the overuse of solitary confinement for prisoners in the United States, a practice that is likely worsening the problem of violence. Solitary confinement is still far too common in the country’s prisons and jails and has a negative effect on inmates’ mental health.
While other countries lock up far fewer prisoners than we do, they have also moved away from the practice of solitary confinement, with good results. The best course of action is to carry out proven therapeutic strategies that result in improved mental health and less violence.
Given that the large number of mentally ill behind bars reflects the lack of effective community mental health care, the least we can do is develop and carry out proven therapeutic strategies while the mentally ill are incarcerated and prohibit prolonged stays in isolation, where prisoners are left to “shout and bang on steel doors” in desperation.
JOSIAH D. RICH
Providence, R.I., Sept. 22, 2013
The writers are, respectively, a medical doctor and director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights at the Miriam Hospital in Providence, and director of the Graduate Program in Social Psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Eric Holder: 'Broken' Justice System Needs 'Sweeping' Changes, Reforms To Mandatory Min.
Ryan J. Reilly and Robin Wilkey | Monday, August 12, 2013
Attorney General Eric Holder called for “sweeping, systemic changes” to the American judicial system on Monday, urging “a frank and constructive dialogue about the need to reform a broken system.”
Rapid HIV and Hepatitis C Testing: Know the Facts
HIV is a virus that weakens your immune system, and can lead to AIDS. Over one million people in the United States are infected with HIV, and about 1 in 5 people with HIV do not even know they are infected. Hepatitis C is a virus that infects the liver. It is five times more common than HIV, with approximately 5 million people in the US infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV).
Watch the 10 minute educational video about HIV and Hepatitis C here
Prison Methadone Policy Sends Inmates Back To Heroin, GoLocalProv Health Team | Friday, March 29, 2013
Methadone treatment for opioid dependence remains widely unavailable behind bars in the United States, and many inmates are forced to discontinue this evidence-based therapy, which lessens painful withdrawal symptoms.
The Silver Boom: Aging Behind Bars in RI, by Flo Jonic
Airdate March 14, 2013
In less than 20 years a quarter of the state's population will be older than 60. In a series we call "The Silver Boom: Aging in Rhode Island," we're looking at how the state will take care of this expanding older population .. and how it can benefit from it.
Rapid Hepatitis C Testing: Know the Facts
Hepatitis C is a virus that infects the liver. It is five times more common than HIV, with approximately 5 million people in the US infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Most people who are infected with HCV do not have any symptoms. Damage to the liver may be slow and happen over many years. Watch the 10 minute educational video about Hepatitis C here
On September 12, 2012, the Frank Murphy Society of the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor hosted Brad Brockmann, executive director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights at Brown University, to speak before Michigan Law students about the epidemic of incarceration and recidivism in the criminal justice system and the associated complex public health crisis, both of which disproportionately affect low-income communities of color. Watch the video.
“Center Founder and Director Dr. Jody Rich featured in SCIENCE magazine special issue on HIV in America (July 13, 2012)
HIV and the Cell: The Prisoner's Dilemma, by Jon Cohen
Josiah Rich, a clinician and researcher at Brown University who treats HIV-infected inmates, believes that one of the most important places to stanch the AIDS epidemic is in the nation's prisons. The United States incarcerates roughly 10 million prisoners each year—the most in the world—and people behind bars disproportionately come from the highest risk groups for HIV infection: injecting drug users, heterosexuals who have concurrent relationships, the impoverished, the homeless, and African Americans and Latinos. Some 150,000 HIV-infected people are released from jails and prisons each year. That's 12.5% of all the infected people in the country. Over the past 18 years, Rich has conducted pioneering research about HIV/AIDS in prisoners and helped Rhode Island create one of the most progressive and effective programs to help people both behind bars and when they're on the outside. Download the PDF version.
HIV in Corrections and Beyond: Progress and Challenges
A Special Satellite Session on Opening Day of the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. July 22!Watch the video of this Special Satellite Session from the Opening Day of the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. !*** Please note: the first two minutes of the video are not functioning properly, though the audio is.***
•Honorable Mary Lou Leary, JD, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice
Programs, US Department of Justice
•Redonna K. Chandler, MD PhD, Chief of the Services Research Branch at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health
•Gregory Pappas, MD, PhD, Senior Deputy Director for HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Administration, Department of Health, District of Columbia
•Jerry Brown, EdD, Deputy Director, Office on Returning Citizen Affairs, District of Columbia
This session highlights the critical work being done in the area of HIV prevention, diagnosis, and treatment among incarcerated populations - including linkage to care after release - by some of the nation’s top researchers in the field. Invited speakers also address the road ahead: shaping national priorities in HIV and correctional health from well-informed Public Health, Research, and Justice perspectives.
Sponsored by the CFAR Collaboration on HIV in Corrections (CFAR-CHIC) steering group, EnhanceLink Working Group, Emory University/Abt Associates EnhanceLink Evaluation & Support Center, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at Yale University, District of Columbia Developmental CFAR, Lifespan/Tufts/Brown CFAR, the University of North Carolina CFAR and Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights (www.prisonerhealth.org).
Staying Alive on the Outside
Reentry is associated with increased risk of death by drug overdose, often due to a loss of drug tolerance during incarceration. Staying Alive on the Outside is a 19-minute film offering information about preventing, identifying and responding to an opioid overdose with naloxone, a safe, effective overdose antidote. The film includes personal stories about overdose risks after leaving jail or prison. The film is now available to stream or download online.
Naloxone is available to community members in Rhode Island through the Preventing Overdose Naloxone Intervention (PONI) program.
Outside of Rhode Island, use the following locator to
find a naloxone intervention program near you:
Center Co-Director Dr. Josiah Rich is featured in a Channel 10 Health Check Report - Health Check: Epidemic of mass incarceration.
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