May 24, 2016 – New York, NY – To improve health outcomes of individuals in the criminal justice system, the Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation has awarded a $450,000, three-year grant to the Legal Action Center, a nonprofit law and policy organization, to enroll thousands of justice-involved individuals in Medicaid and link them to coordinated care.
According to Paul N. Samuels, Director and President of LAC, the grant will build on the successes LAC has already achieved with the help of previous Langeloth Foundation support. Since LAC began the project in 2013, over 5,000 individuals in the criminal justice system have been enrolled in Medicaid, with an estimated 400 people now being enrolled each month. Over 2,000 individuals in the criminal justice system have been linked to Health Homes. The state has also budgeted $6 million for Medicaid enrollers and preliminary care coordination inside prisons.
With this generous new grant, LAC will tackle remaining obstacles to care for this population. “While many individuals are gaining Medicaid coverage, large numbers still forgo care in the first weeks after release from prison or jail,” said Samuels. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with state and city agencies as well as reentry organizations in connecting individuals at all stages of the criminal justice system to Medicaid or private insurance to ensure they receive the care they need.”
Sebastian Solomon, LAC’s Director of New York State Policy, added, “We truly appreciate the support from the Langeloth Foundation, which has funded us so generously in the past. This new funding will allow our continued effort in securing health care for justice-involved individuals, as well as engaging them in evidence-based care to address their particular needs, including addiction, mental health, HIV and other chronic conditions.”
People in the criminal justice system are seven times as likely as the general population to experience mental illness, substance use disorders, infectious disease, and chronic health conditions. Following release from prisons or jails, they experience disruptions in medical care and treatment that contribute to higher drug use rates, re-incarceration, and poor health outcomes, including a 12-fold increase in risk of death in the first two weeks post-release. At every stage of the criminal justice system, lack of treatment elevates recidivism rates, increases long-term costs, and harms individuals, families and communities.
“The ultimate goal is to help cement policies and protocols that improve countless lives, improve public safety and, over time, help state and city governments decrease overall criminal justice and health care costs,” said Samuels. “If successful, this project could provide a model for transforming the criminal justice and health care systems nationwide.”
About the Legal Action Center
The Legal Action Center is the only non-profit law and policy organization in the United States whose sole mission is to fight discrimination against people with histories of addiction, HIV/AIDS, or criminal records, and to advocate for sound public policies in these areas.
About The Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation
The Foundation’s grant-making program is centered on the concepts of health and well-being. The Foundation’s purpose is to promote and support effective and creative programs, practices and policies related to healing from illness, accident, physical, social or emotional trauma, and to extend the availability of programs that promote healing to underserved populations.