Program on Legal and Ethical Issues in Correctional Health


Several of the Program's research projects are complete. One project, the first of its kind in the U.S., is a national needs assessment of health issues confronting correctional health professionals. Nearly a thousand persons from across the country representing the range of jurisdictions, facility type, facility size and health professionals participated. The most difficult issues facing correctional health professionals were:

  • Standards of care for health services
  • Confidentiality of health information
  • Offenders with substance abuse problems
  • Offenders with mental disorders

More details about the survey results can be found in "Report on a National Survey of Correctional Health Facilities: A Needs Assessment of Health Issues," in the 1998, 5(1) issue of the Journal of Correctional Health Care, published by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care. For information on how you can get a copy of the journal or this journal issue, call (773) 880-1460. Currently under analysis are the responses to the ethics- and law-related training and resources available to health professionals. We will soon post our preliminary findings here, so be sure to visit us in the future.

Another project examined the legal issues associated with new laws pertaining to treatment alternatives for sex offenders, including laws that require or permit chemical or surgical castration. A comprehensive review of these legal issues can be found in "Castrating Pedophiles Convicted of Sex Offenses Against Children: New Treatment or Old Punishment?," in the Jan.-Feb. 1998, 51(2) issue of the SMU Law Review, published by the SMU Law School. For information on how you can get a copy of the study, call (214) 768-2594. Additional research into sex offending is on-going; visit us for updates.

Other projects include:

  • Needs of aged offenders
  • Offender access to advance therapies
  • Issues in clinical research involving prisoners
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