The Issue

Many people in the criminal justice system have complex, untreated health needs, including substance use disorders and mental illness. As a result of the Affordable Care Act, many more are also now eligible for Medicaid or other coverage that could help them receive healthcare. State and local governments have not yet fully taken advantage of this opportunity to improve health and public safety.

Current Initiatives

New York City and State
  • Co-chairing the Criminal Justice & Health Home Workgroup with the New York State Department of Health.
  • Working with the Jacob & Valeria Langeloth Foundation to expand health coverage enrollment in New York’s criminal justice system.

Policy Recommendations

  • Health coverage enrollment in justice settings: All components of the criminal justice system – diversion programs, courts, prisons, jails, and probation and parole departments – should enroll people under their custody or supervision in health coverage like Medicaid or private insurance.
  • Suspension of Medicaid during incarceration: All states should adopt policies that keep Medicaid active during an individual’s incarceration. This means suspending benefits rather than terminating coverage. Termination can cause delays in coverage and care when a person gets released.

Learn More

To learn more about this issue, visit our Criminal Justice and Health Resources.

To learn more about LAC’s impact, see our Accomplishments.

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