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Prevalence of Medical Conditions of Male Inmates Within a Community Corrections Population

1 August 2006


Approximately 87% of the inmate population in the United States is male and with thousands of them being released every year the state of their health is something that must be looked into in order to not overwhelm an already taxed public health system. The low socioeconomic status of most inmates prior to incarceration lend to a greater likelihood that will enter the system with a pre-existing medical condition and with lack of medical services in the prison system itself it is very plausible that he will not care while in the system for the same condition. It has been reported that over 40% of state and federal inmates over the age of 45 have developed a medical condition while incarcerated. These conditions range from chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease and communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, and HIV/AIDS. It is also important to note that an individual in the prison system is several more times likely to contract syphilis while incarcerated and greater than 20% of gonorrhea and 60% of Chlamydia cases went undetected. We decided to look at the current health of male inmates in the Washington County Community Correctional Center located in Hillsboro, Oregon and evaluate their current state of health. This was accomplished using volunteer inmates and physician assistant student from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. We predicted that there would be shortfalls in the health care and status of this population. We found that the majority of our subjects had gone greater than 5 years without receiving a complete medical examination, vision screening, or dental cleaning. Most were considered overweight or obese according to curent BMI standards and none were screened for STD's when entering the system. While we found lacks in health care there is great opportunity to collaborate with local health centers and Pacific University's College of Health Sciences to dramatically improve health care access to this underserved population.


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