Skip to main content
Publications

The Affordable Care Act: Implications for Public Safety and Corrections Populations

September 10, 2012
Susan D. Phillips
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law by President Obama in 2011, may potentially aid individuals who are at risk for incarceration and those who have been incarcerated through provisions that allow states to expand eligibility for Medicaid.

Many people in correctional institutions have faced barriers obtaining needed health and behavioral health care services in the community either prior to their incarceration or upon reentry following incarceration. This is largely due to high rates of unemployment and narrow Medicaid eligibility criteria.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law by President Obama in 2011, may potentially aid individuals who are at risk for incarceration and those who have been incarcerated through provisions that allow states to expand eligibility for Medicaid.

This report documents that federal heath care reform legislation could change the playing field in three key ways:

  • Expanded health care coverage: The Affordable Care Act gives states the option of expanding Medicaid eligibility and makes prevention, early intervention, and treatment of mental health problems and substance use essential health benefits. In states that opt to expand Medicaid coverage, the Federal government will cover 100% of expenditures for the newly eligible population from 2014 to 2016, with the amount of federal funds decreasing yearly to 90% by 2020 and thereafter.
  • Reducing recidivism: Because of the role mental health and substance abuse problems play in behaviors that lead to incarceration and recidivism, the Affordable Care Act could help states reduce the number of people cycling through the criminal justice system.
  • Addressing racial disparities: The new legislation may contribute to reducing racial disparities in incarceration that arise from disparate access to treatment.

To read the report, download the PDF below.

 
Related Posts
news
Race & Justice News: Homicide Clearance Disparities Contribute to Capital Punishment Disparities
August 07, 2018

Race & Justice News: Homicide Clearance Disparities Contribute to Capital Punishment Disparities

Homicides involving white victims are significantly more likely to be "cleared" by the arrest of a suspect than homicides involving victims of color, causing racial disparities in capital sentencing to begin as early as police investigations. Learn more in Race & Justice News.
news
The Sentencing Project on the Incarceration of Migrant Children
June 22, 2018

The Sentencing Project on the Incarceration of Migrant Children

We call on the Trump Administration, Congress, and federal agencies to act urgently to reunite all children who have been separated from their families, to revoke the zero-tolerance policy and to reject an expanded policy of family detention.