Inmate health
There are now about 2.2 million adults incarcerated in our prisons and jails. About twice this many people are also on parole. About 1% of these inmates, or about 20,000 men and 2,000 women, are infected with the AIDS/HIV virus. Most of these inmates acquired this disease in the community and not while incarcerated. However, inmates have a higher virus transmission rate compared to those not incarcerated. This is due to higher levels of injected-drug use, tattoos and unsafe sex. Advocates say these inmates may receive some treatment while in jail but often have difficulty accessing HIV treatment and medications when released.

Prison and jail mental health statistics also show that about half of all inmates have a mental health problem. These problems are considered severe in about 15% of these people. Serious mental disorders include bipolar, schizophrenia, psychotic and delusional disorders. Health care advocates say many of these people are in prison because there are not enough mental hospitals available for treatment. They say that since the mental health industry began deinstitutionalizing patients several decades ago, our mentally ill have few places to go for treatment. Consequently, many get into trouble with the law. Mental health advocates claim that many inmates in jail today could conceivably be patients in mental hospitals if this option still existed. They claim many of these patient/inmates are caught in a “revolving door,” repeatedly entering and exiting overcrowded hospitals, jails and the community.

Pending Legislation:
H.R.768 - Stop AIDS in Prison Act of 2015
H.R.731 - Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act of 2015

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Poll Opening Date
May 21, 2020
Poll Closing Date
May 27, 2020

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