News and Announcements
- CBHJ hosts nationwide webinar series on mitigating COVID-19 in jail settings, first of monthly series
Arresting The Spread: Fighting COVID In Jails
Before the pandemic, the Chicago-based Gonzales had been working with contacts in her region’s public-health circles to aid those with opioid-use disorders. And after joining the CDC Foundation, a colleague from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund alerted her to a community-based organization working on a COVID-19 outbreak at Detroit’s Wayne County jail. “Detroit was one of the big cities where it hit early,” said Gonzales. “By April, three of their jail system’s medical providers had died.” One of the doctors who died was actually the facility’s medical director, which brought needed attention to the crisis. According to The Guardian, by July 2020, more than 200 staffers and at least 80 inmates had tested positive for the virus. Nearby Wayne State University, however, has a Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (CBHJ) at their School of Social Work. Gonzales was then introduced to Dean Sheryl Kubiak and Dr. Brad Ray, the director. “We’re one of the only centers explicitly focused on the intersection of behavioral health, public health and justice,” said Ray. “We have more than 40 full-time staff and do translational research and technical assistance across the Midwest.” So they were well-positioned to meet the challenge of the outbreak and well-versed in the contrasts between jails and prisons. Kubiak, Ray and their colleagues translated that knowledge into a more specific COVID-19 mitigation guide. “The center used CDC guidance, their own experience and partnerships across corrections, law enforcement, the courts and public health to create a toolkit for jails to use throughout Michigan,” explained Gonzales.
With dissemination support from the CDC foundation, CBHJ distributes toolkit of COVID-19 mitigation strategies to jails nationwide
In collaboration with Wayne County Jail, the Wayne State University School of Social Work Center for Behavioral Health and Justice has developed a toolkit detailing key strategies for mitigating COVID-19 in jail settings, including testing implementation, contact tracing, information sharing and discharge planning. With support from the CDC Foundation, the toolkit offers recommendations to jails across the nation.
- CBHJ receives funding to expand telehealth capabilities in Michigan county jails
- Social Work & Nursing establish crisis hotline for Detroit metro healthcare workers & first responders fighting COVID-19
Decreasing stigma and bias to minimize health disparities during the COVID-19 pandemic
In light of the current COVID-19 crisis, the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (CBHJ) recognizes that this pandemic may exacerbate existing social, racial, and health disparities. This may be true for justice-involved individuals, especially those who are part of marginalized populations such as; African American/Black, Asian, Arab/Chaldean, Indigenous, Latinx, immigrant and low-income communities; people with disabilities and special health needs; and older adults. As such, the CBHJ is sharing information and recommendations from local, national, and global organizations related to the minimization of stigmas and biases during this crisis.