A recent NPR article discussed how the government can support former inmates’ health to better integrate them into society. Many states are looking to expand Medicaid to provide more comprehensive health care to former inmates and help reduce recidivism rates. As the justice system faces a growing demand for alternative sentencing, red and blue states are turning to Medicaid's flexibility to provide mental health and substance use treatment, as well as other health care services, to former inmates to support their reintegration into society.
Expanding Medicaid can help reduce health care costs, as former inmates with chronic health conditions or substance use disorders may be more likely to receive treatment through Medicaid than through emergency rooms or other costly forms of care. Studies have shown that providing comprehensive health care to former inmates can lead to a reduction in recidivism rates. With bipartisan support, expanding Medicaid to provide coverage has become an attractive option for many states seeking to improve the health of their populations while also reducing costs.