Public Health Strategy for Offenders
The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has developed a Public Health Strategy to continue to protect the health and well-being of offenders, staff and communities.
CSC continues to experience high rates of infectious diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV among inmates and has implemented a comprehensive set of public health measures to prevent, control and manage disease transmission.
Since there is a higher usage of injection drug use and involvement in the sex trade among inmates, it is understandable that there would be a higher prevalence of blood-borne and sexually-transmitted infections in this population. In addition, inmates generally have poorer levels of overall health and are at risk of other infectious diseases (i.e. tuberculosis) due to their history of addictions and drug abuse.
Over the past 15 years, public health services for offenders in CSC have evolved. Tuberculosis (TB) prevention and control, as well as immunizations against Hepatitis A and B have been established and strengthened. Other services, such as special treatments, have been introduced in response to the emergence of new public health challenges such as HIV and Hepatitis C.
PUBLIC HEALTH PROGRAM
The Correctional Service of Canada Public Health Strategy for Offenders builds the solid foundation for public health in CSC and sets out seven strategic areas for the next five years:
- Infectious Disease Prevention, Control and Management
- To ensure consistency and sustainability in infectious disease prevention, control and management, and to consider enhancements if more resources become available.
- Health Promotion and Health Education
- To ensure dissemination of health promotion materials to all offenders, and to broaden their content to include healthy lifestyle behaviours, risk factors for chronic diseases, and health needs specific to certain groups.
- Surveillance and Knowledge Sharing
- To inform the development of evidence-based measures in the prevention, control and management of infectious diseases and other risks to offender health, through enhanced, co-ordinated surveillance efforts and knowledge sharing.
- Aboriginal and Women Offender Health
- To ensure sustained emphasis on addressing the public health issues affecting Aboriginal and women offenders.
- Healthy Environments
- To ensure that public health activities contribute to and support healthy environments.
- Public Health Competencies
- To ensure that staff has the requisite public health skills and knowledge.
- Visibility and Accountability
- To secure collaboration from internal and external partners and stakeholders; to broadly communicate the Strategy and the results of its implementation; and to have updated performance measurement indicators and an evaluation framework in place.
The primary focus of the Public Health Strategy continues to be infectious diseases.
CSC currently allocates approximately $13 million annually to the surveillance, screening and testing, prevention and control, care, treatment and support of infectious diseases and health promotion for inmates.
Additional funding for such areas as health promotion and discharge planning is provided to CSC under the Federal Initiative to address HIV/AIDS in Canada ($4.2 million) and the Canadian Strategy on HIV/AIDS ($600,000)
OBJECTIVE OF PUBLIC HEALTH PROGRAM
The objective of CSC's Public Health Program is to provide public health services to federal offenders in order to prevent and control disease, while promoting good health within federal institutions.
The Public Health Strategy is currently being implemented and reflected in annual work plans. It will strengthen and build upon current public health activities. A performance measurement strategy is being developed in anticipation of a planned evaluation of the Public Health Program slated for 2014.
THE WAY FORWARD
The Public Health Strategy is intended to contribute to more effective and efficient public health services and, in the long term, the reduction of health costs for treating offenders and healthier communities and enhanced public safety. It is a collaborative approach to providing public health services to offenders from their date of admission to their release to the community, and will draw upon the expertise of a national network of internal and external partners and stakeholders.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information on CSC's Health Services, please visit our Web site at www.csc-scc.gc.ca.