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Study Looks at New York City's Efforts to Address The Health Care Needs of Inmates Returning to Local Communities

New York, NY – April 14, 2008 –  John Jay College faculty and Bellevue Hospital health care professionals have  released a study entitled “Mapping the Innovation in Correctional Health Care Delivery in New York City” on the health and human services currently available to recently released inmates in  New York City. The study found that many local communities are not adequately prepared to take on the ongoing management of released inmates’ medical and mental health conditions.

“In a first for New York City, this project geo-mapped four reentry databases to determine gaps between where returning inmates live and the availability and accessibility of services. We hope our findings will be used to further discussion on what is necessary to facilitate better utilization of services,” said Jeff Mellow, John Jay College Professor and Project Director.

In 2004, the New York City Department of Correction (DOC) introduced a new reentry strategy that focused on discharge planning, case management and engaging community-based service providers.  The intent of this new strategy is to address the health and non-health related needs of the large numbers of inmates who are released each year from the DOC.

However, the study found that inmates return in disproportionate numbers to impoverished communities in New York City’s five boroughs, with 26 percent returning to just six community districts. In the Bronx, for example, the study shows that there is a serious geographic mismatch.  While four districts in the Bronx have an adequate number of social service providers, they are not the districts to which the majority of released inmates return. Most inmates return to areas that have fewer service providers. Furthermore, even when services are available, there is a lack of awareness and accessibility by former inmates, and little consistency in specific services identified between reentry guidebooks and service databases.

In addition, service providers in these communities reported problems resulting from limited funds, difficulty accessing benefits and lack of community support for reentry services.

To read the full report, please click here.

The authors of the study are:


  • Gary Belkin, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Deputy Director of Psychiatry, Bellevue Hospital Center and Associate Professor, New York University School of Medicine
  • Robert B. Greifinger, M.D., editor of Public Health Behind Bars: From Prisons to Communities and Bars and Professor of Health and Criminal Justice and Distinguished Research Fellow at John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Steven K. Hoge, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, and Director of the Division of Forensic Psychiatry, Bellevue Hospital Center
  • Joshua D. Lee, M.D., M.S., Assistant Professor in the departments of Psychiatry, Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, and Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine at New York University School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital Center
  • Jeff Mellow, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Mangai Natarajan, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Sociology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Sung-suk Violet Yu, M.A., doctoral student in the School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University

This study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change.  For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit http://www.rwjf.org/.

Established in 1964, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York is an international leader in educating for justice. It offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 14,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law.