The Affordable Care Act and Its Impact on the Criminal Justice System

  • 2015

The Affordable Care Act and Its Impact on the Criminal Justice System

Author:
Debra Kobus
Abstract:

This paper discusses the Affordable Care Act and the impact on the criminal justice system. In 2011, conservative estimates from 44 states showed annual nonfederal incarceration expenditures totaled almost $40 billion with nearly $8 billion of it spent on correctional health care alone. These costs are unsustainable, and the Affordable Care Act could be the solution to the U.S. incarceration crisis. The expansion of the Medicaid program in the Affordable Care Act benefits the majority of the justice-involved population, allowing them access to health care services immediately upon their release and re-entry back into their community. Results indicate that by leveraging the benefits realized through the ACA’s provisions into statewide correctional health service contracts, the criminal justice system has an opportunity to improve public safety at reduced costs.