Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA.
The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any nation in the world. Approximately 870 of every 100,000 U.S. citizens are currently in jails or prisons. U.S. inmates are disproportionately young males, racial and ethnic minorities, and persons of low socioeconomic status. Incarcerated persons have high rates of psychiatric conditions, communicable diseases, substance use disorders, and chronic diseases. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all inmates be screened for human immunodeficiency virus infection, hepatitis C, syphilis, and latent tuberculosis infection, and that sexually active female inmates be screened for gonorrhea and chlamydia. Inmates should also be screened for psychiatric conditions and substance use disorders. Therapy should be continued for all chronic conditions when indicated. Inmates should be referred to community organizations for follow-up medical care and treatment of substance use disorders before they are released from detention facilities. A systematic approach to urgent, routine, and preventive care for persons in jails and prisons creates a healthier correctional environment and a healthier community after release.