Nearly 1.6 million people are in federal and state correctional facilities. An estimated 95 percent of state prisoners will reenter society at some point; over 600,000 people were released in 2013 alone. Formerly incarcerated persons (FIPs) 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. Nonetheless, there are significant barriers to accessing and adhering to care. Research is necessary to develop and test patient-centered interventions for this unique population.
Our 12-member partnership is co-led by a researcher with expertise in community-academic partnered research and a personal history of caring for formerly incarcerated friends and an FIP who is the executive director of Voice of the Experienced, a nonprofit organization that serves FIPs. Throughout Tier I, we held three community forums that introduced the project, gave an overview of comparative effectiveness research (CER), and generated a list of topics of interest on which to conduct CER. During Tier II, through a series of three additional community forums with FIPs and bi-monthly advisory board meetings, we successfully developed two CER questions that were informed by a wide variety of stakeholders. During Tier III, our major goal will be to collaborate with FIPs to develop one of our research questions into a full CER proposal to be submitted to PCORI. We will also identify and pursue other possible opportunities for funding for research and services to improve the health and well-being of FIPs.