Connecting Criminal Justice with Health Care
Serious health problems and the absence of health coverage are widespread within justice-involved populations, with serious consequences for affected individuals and their communities. Jails and prisons struggle to ensure that those undergoing reentry connect with sources of coverage and care in the community; available health plans may not address the distinctive needs of justice-involved populations; and states and localities incur significant health costs, some of which could be paid by federal health care dollars.
The Connecting Criminal Justice with Health Care (CCJH) Initiative, a collaboration between the Urban Institute and Manatt Health Solutions, brought together state and local corrections and health care officials to develop strategies to address these issues by connecting people who have been involved with the criminal justice system to comprehensive, coordinated health coverage systems. With support from the US Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, CCJH sat at the intersection of broad national debates about mass incarceration, the opiate epidemic, and the crisis in America’s mental health system.
Participating states and localities, chosen based on competitive bids, worked with Urban and Manatt experts to design, test, refine, and monitor solutions in three key areas:
- Enrolling the justice-involved population into Medicaid
- Establishing health care systems tailored to meet the distinct needs of the justice-involved population
- Creating sustainable financing mechanisms for health care provided to inmates
State and local justice agencies, state Medicaid programs, and other stakeholders came together through “learning collaboratives” facilitated by Urban and Manatt over nine months to identify state and local officials’ highest-priority problems, develop solutions by collaborating with national experts and peers in other states, create meaningful and feasible performance measures, and adjust approaches during implementation. The insights, policies, and operational strategies that emerged resulted in written resources and webinars for the national justice and health policy communities.