Start: January 2011


Many individuals with involvement in the criminal justice system — the “justice-involved” — have unmet health care needs and high rates of both mental health and substance use disorders. Access to essential physical and mental health and substance disorder services across the criminal justice continuum — from pre-trial diversion programs to services provided immediately post-release and/or in conjunction with probation and parole — could improve the health of the population, avoid unnecessary hospitalizations, and reduce recidivism. CHCS has brought together policymakers from state and federal Medicaid agencies; state and county correctional staff; health plans; and physical and behavioral health providers from across the country to explore opportunities for advancing coverage and continuity of care for justice-involved individuals. Current projects include:

  • Medicaid Expansion and the Justice-Involved Population: From Theory to Implementation
    Over the past few years, CHCS, in partnership with Community Oriented Correctional Health Services, has facilitated a series of convenings with state and federal Medicaid staff; correctional staff; health plans; and physical and behavioral health providers to: (1) identify and promote the opportunity to enroll individuals released from jails and prisons in states that have elected to expand Medicaid to all low-income adults; and (2) develop and promote model processes to enroll eligible individuals in Medicaid, including health plan selection and rapid access to needed services post-release. To date, this work has been supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Flowers Community Initiatives.
  • Connecting the Criminal Justice-Involved to Coverage
    Under the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State Health Reform Assistance Network, CHCS has engaged staff from the New Mexico Human Services Department, the Bernalillo County Public Safety Division, and Medicaid health plans to establish processes to ensure that individuals leaving jail are enrolled in Medicaid and have access to needed care. Under separate funding, CHCS is poised to do similar work in West Virginia and elsewhere.