The U.S. has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, releasing 12 million ex-offenders each year. These ex-offenders are disproportionately male, Black, poor, undereducated, and unhealthy, and return to our nation's poorest neighborhoods. Through a survey questionnaire and focus groups, this study examined the health status, health needs, access to and utilization of health care services among a sample of ex-offenders living in transitional housing in Baltimore City. More than half reported at least two major, chronic health problems. Only 40% had any form of health coverage; even more predictive of the ability to obtain health services was being able to name a specific provider (doctor, clinic or health organization). Recommendations for halting the downward spiral of poverty and sickness for this population and their communities include providing assistance with accessing, understanding, and navigating our complex and consumer-unfriendly health care system.


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pp. 649-665
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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