Correctional Facility Health
The Challenge for Correctional Facilities
American correctional facilities would benefit from improved access to emergency medical, mental health, and addiction treatment.
- When a possible medical or psychiatric emergency emerges in prison, it can be daunting for limited onsite medical staff to determine whether the prisoner patient requires outside intervention.
- Correctional facilities in the U.S. are considered the largest provider of mental health services. Yet, many prison systems struggle to provide adequate treatment, even after lawsuits and courts demand improved access to mental health care.
- Many among prison populations struggle with substance abuse but lack access to support resources.
- Recruiting qualified specialists to serve prisoner populations is challenging and underfunded.
Telemedicine Can Help
SOC Telemed offers comprehensive telemedicine to correctional facilities for cost-saving, timely access to healthcare, and better health of inmates.
Telemedicine can be used in correctional settings to administer:
■ Time-sensitive and routine specialty care
■ Restoration of Competency
■ Mental & Behavioral Health Treatment
■ Opioid Abuse & Addiction Treatment
■ Preoperative & Postoperative Consultations
SOC is the leader in telemedicine for federal, state, and privately-run correctional facilities
Consider Telemedicine's Benefits for Correctional Facilities
Access to Expert Clinical Care
Through telemedicine, correctional facilities can offer evidence-based, high-quality, and specialized care to incarcerated populations without ever leaving the facility. Telemedicine results in overall better health and fewer complications, hospitalizations, and lawsuits. Patients can access specialists and sub-specialists in fields such as psychiatry, neurology, pulmonology, cardiology, and oncology via remote technology.
Improved Mental Health
Many with mental illness have run-ins with the law and end up in prisons ill-equipped to give them care. Correctional facility staff may not be trained to handle mental illness. Force and isolation generally exacerbate issues. Conversely, a mental health professional is equipped with care-oriented responses focused on improving behavior, managing symptoms, and encouraging recovery. Telemedicine brings this expertise in-facility, making timely and humane mental health treatment accessible to inmates.
Nearly 50% of mentally-ill inmates were incarcerated for a nonviolent crime. Once incarcerated, lack of treatment and medication can cause a substantial and rapid deterioration in their conditions. This leads to behavioral and other issues that can mean extended sentences. Prison inmates who don’t receive mental health care are more likely to cycle in and out of the criminal justice system. Appropriate and continuous mental health care is the key to breaking this cycle.
Increased Staff and Public Safety
In a severe medical or psychiatric crisis, facility protocol indicates a prisoner should transfer to a local hospital or appropriate medical facility. This scenario introduces the risk of prisoner escape or harm to the escorting officers and the hospital staff. The ability to bring trained medical professionals in-facility through technology can negate the need for many inmate transports, thereby increasing staff and public safety.
Reduction in Costs
Timely and continuous onsite mental and population healthcare leads to cost savings for correctional facilities in the form of lower psychotropic medication costs, reduced transportation costs, reduced costs of recidivism, and improved medical care. Telemedicine ultimately results in fewer medical complications, hospitalizations, and lawsuits.
Fewer Prisoner Transports
Telemedicine allows corrections officers to keep potentially dangerous inmates within the confines of the prison for treatment, instead of bearing the cost of transportation and extra security to move the individual to a hospital. Officials in New York, Texas and other states where telemedicine is widely deployed for prison populations uniformly report that telemedicine platforms greatly reduce transportation and staffing costs, while alleviating security concerns.
Further Reading for Correctional Facility Administrators