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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts.
Florida DOH Corrections Programs
In 1999, the Department of Health started funding the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) to service those with HIV in state corrections institutions. The HIV/AIDS Section, under legislation passed in 2002, requires that all inmates be tested for HIV prior to release. Research shows that HIV rates in correctional facilities are three to five times higher than in the general population. More than 95% of those incarcerated will eventually return to their communities. It is 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
- Jail Linkage Program (JLP)
About the Program:
Florida Health currently contracts with the FDC to provide pre-release planning services to inmates with HIV who are 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 they will need.
- Complete individualized needs assessment.
- Schedule appointment for medical and support services within the city the client will be residing.
- 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 inmates with HIV.
- 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 follow-through of medical care once the client 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.
Peer education training program topics include:
Florida Health currently collaborates with 15 counties in an effort to identify, test and treat inmates with HIV. Additional testing for other STDs, such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and hepatitis, may also be available on a county-to-county basis in the jail facilities. Beyond identification of inmates with HIV, this program also includes counseling, education and follow-up services to offenders who are re-entering back into the community.
JLPs are located in:
- Palm Beach
- St. Lucie