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Annu Rev Public Health ; 44: 407-428, 2023 04 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2307948


Mass incarceration is a sociostructural driver of profound health inequalities in the United States. The political and economic forces underpinning mass incarceration are deeply rooted in centuries of the enslavement of people of African descent and the genocide and displacement of Indigenous people and is inextricably connected to labor exploitation, racial discrimination, the criminalization of immigration, and behavioral health problems such as mental illness and substance use disorders. This article focuses on major public health crises and advances in state and federal prisons and discusses a range of practical strategies for health scholars, practitioners, and activists to promote the health and dignity of incarcerated people. It begins by summarizing the historical and sociostructural factors that have led to mass incarceration in the United States. It then describes the ways in which prison conditions create or worsen chronic, communicable, and behavioral health conditions, while highlighting priority areas for public health research and intervention to improve the health of incarcerated people, including decarceral solutions that can profoundly minimize-and perhaps one day help abolish-the use of prisons.

Prisoners , Substance-Related Disorders , Humans , United States , Prisons , Public Health
J Gen Intern Med ; 35(9): 2738-2742, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-649810


In the face of the continually worsening COVID-19 pandemic, jails and prisons have become the greatest vectors of community transmission and are a point of heightened crisis and fear within the global crisis. Critical public health tools to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 are medical isolation and quarantine, but use of these tools is complicated in prisons and jails where decades of overuse of punitive solitary confinement is the norm. This has resulted in advocates denouncing the use of any form of isolation and attorneys litigating to end its use. It is essential to clarify the critical differences between punitive solitary confinement and the ethical use of medical isolation and quarantine during a pandemic. By doing so, then all those invested in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in prisons can work together to integrate medically sound, humane forms of medical isolation and quarantine that follow community standards of care rather than punitive forms of solitary confinement to manage COVID-19.

Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Delivery of Health Care/methods , Patient Isolation/methods , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Prisons , Social Isolation , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/psychology , Delivery of Health Care/standards , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Patient Isolation/psychology , Patient Isolation/standards , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/psychology , Prisons/standards , Quarantine/methods , Quarantine/psychology , Quarantine/standards , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Isolation/psychology , United States/epidemiology