More than 40% of parolees and releases sent to the Bronx from New York State prisons have two or more major chronic conditions, a study to be released today at a public briefing at Health People: Community Preventive Health Institute in the Bronx shows.
The study, "Health Gaps Survey of Bronx Re-Entry Populations," sponsored by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, also found that levels of Hepatitis C testing and treatment in released populations are very low even though Hepatitis C is well known to be a major problem among imprisoned populations; only 36% % of those interviewed said they had been tested for hepatitis C compared 91% who have had HIV tests.
These results were based on interviews with 181 Bronx releasees. Overall, 68% reported having substance abuse problems, 22% reported having mental health problems
and 40% said they were in treatment for HIV/AIDS.
"These numbers certainly underscore a crisis in health for parolees which has to be addressed," said Chris Norwood, Executive Director of Health People and the study lead author. "While this is not a random survey---it was focused on the poorest parolees with many in homeless shelters, we have to project that similar health problems would be found among parolees in many parts of the New York."
In addition to presenting the study results, the briefing at Health People highlights both the challenges the Bronx faces and the progress it is making as its re-entry population grows.
* The Bronx Borough President's Office will discuss the work of the new Bronx Re-Entry task Force.
* Ramon Semorile will review community efforts by the Bronx Re-Entry Working Group to increase support services for returning prisoners and Pamela Valera will give early results of outcomes from a study of Health Seeking Behavior among Bronx Re-Entry populations.
"Overall, the Bronx is making great efforts to assure appropriate health services and social support for parolees," said Chris Norwood. "But, with the numbers rising and the serious health issues that parolees have, we certainly need some help."
The briefing, from 11 am to 12:30 p.n. is open to the public. Health People is located at 552 Southern Boulevard at East 149th Street. For information about the briefing, please contact Carl Brown at 718-585-8585.
The full study results of "Health Gaps of Bronx Re-entry Populations," can be obtained by emailing ChrisNorwood@HealthPeople.org