FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASENIJ
THURSDAY, AUGUST 6, 1998202/307-0703

PUBLIC BENEFITS WHEN PUBLIC HEALTH AND CORRECTIONAL AGENCIES WORK TOGETHER

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Prevention and treatment programs for inmates with HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and tuberculosis (TB) can have positive results for public health across the country, according to a new Justice Department report.

The report from the Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that prisoners in the United States have higher rates of HIV/AIDS, STDs, TB, and more risk factors for these diseases than the population at large. For example, a 1994 survey cosponsored by NIJ and CDC revealed that AIDS is almost six times more prevalent among inmates than in the total U.S. population. Because there is a strong likelihood that inmates will return to the community, collaborations between public health and correctional agencies may help fill gaps in programs for the prevention and treatment of these diseases, thereby benefiting the inmate population as well as overall public health.

According to the NIJ/CDC data, compiled in 1997, virtually all correctional systems have at least some collaboration with public health agencies. Most existing collaborations involved public health departments providing funds, staff, or direct services to correctional facilities. The study identified numerous collaborations in disease surveillance, testing and screening, follow up, education and prevention programs, staff training, treatment services, and legislation and(MORE)policy development. But, few joint efforts were found in discharge planning and transitional services for people being released.

The comprehensive study's key recommendations toward implementing the collaborations are:

To obtain a copy of Public Health/Corrections Collaborations: Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS, STDs and TB(NCJ 169590, 19 pp.), contact the National Criminal Justice Reference Service at 1-800/851-3420. To download a copy or to obtain additional information about Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and its programs, visit OJP's web site at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov.

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NIJ98185

CONTACT: National Institute of Justice, 202/307-0703; or Charles Miller, 202/514-9800