The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US has shone a new and brighter light on the vast inequities that exist within our public health system in terms of access, screening, and care. Correctional health is chief among them.
Criminal justice involvement also has both direct and indirect adverse effects on the health of individuals, their families, and communities. As a result, understanding and addressing the healthcare needs of justice-involved individuals is one component of a comprehensive strategy to reduce health disparities and improve upon community health.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have opened the Overton Window in framing these criminal justice system reforms as acceptable policy positions given the difficulty of implementing social distancing and sheltering in place within carceral contexts. We urge the public health community, criminal justice reform advocates, and policymakers to seize this opportunity for cardinal reform of the criminal justice system as part of a responsive COVID-19-related legislative agenda.cynthia golembeski 2, MPH