Nearly 1.6 million people are in federal and state correctional facilities in the United States. An estimated 95% of state prisoners will reenter society at some point; over 600,000 people were released in 2013 alone. Former prisoners face a disproportionate risk of death in the immediate post-release period, making it a critical time to initiate community-based care for chronic conditions and behavioral disorders, including substance abuse. Nonetheless, there are significant barriers to accessing and adhering to care.
Research is necessary to 1) identify the population’s unique health and social concerns, and 2) develop and test patient-centered interventions to improve health and reduce recidivism. To create a research agenda focused on supporting this underserved population, we will establish a community-academic partnered workgroup in Louisiana, which has the highest incarceration rate in the United States. A junior faculty member with a track record of conducting community-partnered programs in New Orleans, Louisiana, will lead this effort in partnership with a community-based organization focused on the rights of formerly incarcerated persons.
We have three aims for this nine-month project: 1) We will establish an advisory board comprising diverse stakeholders and develop a memorandum of understanding for conducting future comparative effectiveness research. 2) We will develop and execute an outreach plan to engage local and national stakeholders. 3) We will host a series of four community forums to build relationships among stakeholders and increase their capacity for engaging in future research.