Prison inmates present with higher rates of infectious disease than the general population. Decisions on how to manage and treat infectious diseases in the prison setting are often contingent upon factors such as the length of the inmate's prison sentence, the type of facility in which the inmate is housed, and factors associated with the inmate's compliance with prescribed treatment regimens. Little information is available regarding how infectious disease rates vary according to these factors. The study population consisted of 336,668 Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmates who were incarcerated for any duration between January 1, 1999, and December 31, 2001. Information on medical conditions, incarceration factors, and sociodemographic factors was obtained from an institutionwide medical information system. The findings indicate that the prevalence of five major infectious diseases varied substantially according to type of criminal offense, prison facility type, and comorbid psychiatric disorder. Inmates who were incarcerated for violent offenses, who were incarcerated in a prison facility, and who exhibited at least one major psychiatric disorder all exhibited elevated rates of disease. It will be important for future studies to assess the driving forces behind these disease patterns. This information may ultimately help correctional administrators and clinicians more efficiently deliver clinical care to inmates with infectious diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Community and Home Care
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health