Florida DOH Corrections Programs
In 1999 the Department of Health started funding the Florida Department of Corrections, FDC, to service the HIV/AIDS population in the state corrections institutions. The Florida Department of Health, HIV/AIDS section under legislation passed in 2002 requires that all inmates are to be tested for HIV/AIDS prior to release. Latest research shows that the rates of HIV/AIDS in correctional facilities are three to five times higher than in the general population. More than 95% of incarcerated men and women will eventually return to their communities and most within Florida. It is therefore essential to test and provide opportunities for treatment for these recently released individuals returning to Florida’s communities.
- Pre-Release Planning Program (PRPP)
- Peer Education (Peer-Ed)
- Jail Linkage Program (JLP)
The DOH currently contracts with the FDC to provide pre-release planning services to HIV-positive inmates preparing to return to their communities. FDC employs pre-release planners located in five regions throughout the state. These planners provide services directly to the inmate within six months of their end-of-sentence date to determine the community to which the inmate is returning and what type of services he/she will need. It is therefore essential to test and provide opportunities for treatment for these recently released individuals returning back into Florida’s communities.
Goals of the Pre-Release Planners Program:
- Complete individualized Need Assessment to identify services of care.
- Schedule appointment for medical and support services within the city the client will be residing in.
- Release medical labs to medical providers.
- Ensure the client receives 30 days of current medications and a copy of medical records from the correctional institution.
- Provide HIV education and awareness to HIV-positive inmates.
- Refer to a linkage coordinator for continued community services, if returning to one of the following counties: Volusia, Lake, Seminole, Orange, Brevard, Polk, Osceola, Miami-Dade, Broward or West Palm Beach.
- Call medical provider to ensure medical compliancy of care once the inmate has been released back into the community.
The Peer Education Program works with inmates at the Florida Reception Center to train fellow inmates in a peer education program. A peer educator trainer hosts “train-the-trainer” sessions. The goal of the peer educator training is to create a pool of inmate peer educators to conduct HIV prevention programs in prison.
The peer education training program topics include:
- HIV/AIDS basics
The Jail Linkage program (JLP) is a component of the Florida Department of Health HIV/AIDS Program. The DOH currently collaborates with 15 counties in an effort to identify, test and treat HIV positive inmates. Additional testing for other STD’s such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and hepatitis may also be available on a county to county basis in the jail facilities. Beyond identification of HIV positive inmates this program also includes counseling, education and follow up services to offenders who are re-entering back into the community.
The Jail Linkage Programs are located in:
- Palm Beach
- St. Lucie