Overview and Inventory of HHS Efforts to Assist Incarcerated and Reentering Individuals and their Families . Chronic Diseases


Few studies look at the prevalence of chronic illness among jail or prison inmates. Although, a National Commission on Correctional Health Care report (2001) states that the prevalence of chronic illnesses and communicable diseases is greater among people in jails and prisons. Hypertension, asthma, and diabetes are among the more common chronic diseases reported; however, their presence varies with the age of the incarcerated population (Wilper et. al, 2009). One study that examines survey data finds, that among federal, state, and jail inmates, nearly 40 percent of each population reports at least one chronic illness (Wilper et. al., 2009). Several older studies indicate that nearly ten percent of jail and prison inmates have physical impairments that limit the type or amount of work they can perform ( Harlow, 1998).

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