This testimony from a woman in the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women describes a problem many face on release from a provincial prison. They have no safe place to go — no welcoming family, no home, no job, no community to support them in establishing a healthy crime-free life. Many have untreated chronic health conditions — including diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, hepatitis C and HIV/AIDs — and mental health challenges stemming from severe abuse in childhood. Likely they have no family doctor.
When you haven’t seen a dentist in years and your mouth is missing teeth, it can be hard to impress at job interviews, hard to find work. When you have chronic pain in your mouth after years of using a crack pipe, it is tempting to seek comfort through illicit narcotics — from the street.
It is not surprising then, that 40 percent of women return to provincial prison within one year of release. Or that a staggering 70 per cent are back behind bars after two years.
A new study from our research team at the Collaborating Centre for Prison Health and Education at the University of British Columbia reveals that basic health care, both in prison and on release, is essential — to ensure successful reintegration into society."
Read article by Patricia Janssen, Mo Korchinski and Ruth Elwood Martin from The Conversation.