Karen Reitan, AM, of the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago and Fikirte Wagaw, MPH, of Public Health Consulting, LLC discussed viewing criminal justice as a public health issue in their presentation. There is a statistically significant intersection between HIV and incarceration. Jail and prison populations bear a disproportionate burden of infectious disease, including sexually transmitted infections. Infection and death rates are higher among inmates in prisons than the general population. Many infections are caught for the first time when a person is first incarcerated, which can, overtime, complicate efforts to reenter society.
PHIMC implemented the Community Reentry Project (CRP), which serves a highly vulnerable population with basic unmet needs. The program offers intensive case management, substance abuse treatment and counseling, employment training, HIV testing and health education, assistance obtaining government identification training, combined legal counseling and social work for mothers and pregnant women, and discharge planning packets.