Two steps toward ensuring incarcerated people receive quality health care
Medical care for people incarcerated across the United States has long been precarious and inadequate, and the Supreme Court may soon make it worse, health policy and legal scholars argue in a new article. To address those failures, the authors call for two changes that could safeguard rights to health care for those held in American prisons and jails. Their article, published March 2 in the New England Journal of Medicine, reviews the perilous state of health care in U.S. correctional facilities and the constraints on legal rights to treatment. The authors describe how many incarcerated people live with “woefully inadequate medical care”—and document that Black, Native American, and Hispanic inmates are disproportionally worse off in terms of medical care. The lead authors are Harvard Kennedy School Professor Marcella Alsan, based in the School’s Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, and Harvard Law School Professor Crystal Yang. They explain the findings in this conversation.