Public Safety

E-Newsletter Issue #53: August 5, 2010

Kentucky pharmacies filled nearly 700,000 prescriptions written by prescribers in its seven border states last year.

That doesn’t even count the prescriptions written in nonborder states, including more than 9,000 written in Michigan, according to Dave Hopkins, project manager for the state’s prescription drug database, the Kentucky All-Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting, or KASPER.

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Inmates in state prisons and jails have higher rates of HIV and STIs than the general population.  Inmates are usually infected prior to incarceration, but due to lack of access to health care and other factors they are often first diagnosed by correctional health services.  To stop the spread of infections in communities when inmates are released, state and local corrections, public health and community-based programs are collaborating to help inmates get tested and access  treatment for HIV and other STIs—both before and after release.

The Missouri public defender system announced yesterday that its Springfield office would not accept new cases until August because attorneys have exceeded their maximum caseloads.

An article in today's Washington Post reports on the flurry of new state laws targeting human trafficking, including dozens of laws to increase criminal penalties against traffickers and provide assistance to victims. 

The National Juvenile Justice Network, a coalition of juvenile justice advocates, has released a new report with recommendations for cost-effective strategies to improve juvenile justice systems in cash-strapped states.

This week, both the Washington Post and the New York Times have reported on the growing popularity of "spice," the generic term for a legal synthetic substitute for the active ingredient in marijuana.  Sold in many locations as packages of incense, the herbal mixture is coated with a chemical that causes some of the same effects of marijuana. 

Amidst one of the worst periods for states since the Great Depression, courts are not immune to the recession that’s wreaked havoc on state budgets. Even in tighter fiscal times, courts must continue to administer justice.  Specialty courts such as mental health courts are weathering the fiscal storm, according to articles in the June/August issue of Capitol Ideas magazine. The issue focuses on public safety and justice. 

In the face of an economic recession and budget constraints, states are finding it more difficult to provide a constitutionally mandated public defense attorney for indigent criminal defendants.

As of 2008, about 450 state prisoners in Illinois were living with HIV.

Most of these inmates have one thing in common: They will eventually be released from prison. About 85 percent of those released will end up in the Chicago area, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Nearly half of the inmates in New York’s prisons return to the community each year. New York was also one of three states that housed nearly half the 20,000 state prisoners across the country who had HIV or confirmed AIDS. Correctional health care is not only good for the health of inmates and correctional staff—it’s also about preventing the spread of infections to their families and communities when prisoners are released.

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