The transporting of newly released inmates from California’s San Quentin prison to a community medical clinic is part of a growing national effort to connect people released from jails and prisons to health care soon after they get out, reports the East Valley (Ca.) Express. An organization called Healthy Oakland, which received its state medical clinic license last year, takes a public-health approach to public safety. This past fiscal year, the clinic received $1.2 million from Alameda County to serve as a one-stop health and social services center for the poor. In addition to its clinic, the “Save a Life Wellness Center,” visitors can get help signing up for housing, employment, food stamps, even tax preparation.
“If our charge is to make communities healthier, then we have to look at all of the indicators that are causing a community to be unhealthy,” says Anita Siegel, acting director of the county public health department. “And we know violence is one of them. And we also know that the reentry population is coming to Oakland. And if there are no jobs or resources available, then they could end up committing crimes – which will continue the cycle of producing communities that aren’t healthy.”