First up is a story out of Britain where the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued draft guidelines on the proper care and support of people in prison. NICE is an agency of the UK government that publishes evidence-based guidelines on a variety of health care conditions and treatments. This appears to be their first guidelines for correctional health care. Panelists compare and contrast these guidelines with NCCHC guidelines – the most frequently used in the US.
PBS Newshour recently investigated fetal brain damage and the link to crime and incarceration. They highlighted the work of a colleague of ours, Chicago psychiatrist, Dr. Carl Bell. Dr. Bell has for some time been studying the effect of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Those with the condition are often misdiagnosed with other disorders and frequently end up as our correctional patients. How can this information be used in our nursing practice?
Panelists are mixed on the benefit of mothers keeping their babies behind bars. The Associated Press story highlights the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in the NY State Prison System where mothers can keep their babies with them while incarcerated. According to the story there are only 8 such prison nurseries in the US criminal justice system although there are over 100 women’s prisons. Bedford Hill’s nursery is the longest continuously operating prison nursery, having started in 1901. Many think keeping babies with their mother’s in prison is a bad idea. The story, however, provides some good data on positive outcomes.
Our final story is about the Boston Marathon. This year the Marathon took place in Beantown on April 18. However, it also took place inside the wall for one inmate of the Franklin County House of Corrections a couple hours west in Greenfield, MA. He was inspired to run the marathon by a clinician who plans to run the New York Marathon in November. He also attributes the no-smoking policy at the facility for his quitting and being able to run. Sounds like incarceration has helped this man to get healthy. Are there ways to encourage healthy living among our patients?
What do you think about this month’s news stories? Share your views in the comments section of this post.