Mayor Bill de Blasio yesterday named NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull, 760 Broadway, in Bedford-Stuyvesant as one of two hospitals citywide – the other being Bellevue in Manhattan – to open Therapeutic Housing Units to improve access to care for incarcerated patients whose clinical conditions require access to specialty and subspecialty care.
The NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services (CHS) will operate the two facilities, which between the two hospitals will have 250 beds, These units ae expected to substantially improve access to needed care and will offer a therapeutic and more normalized environment for those incarcerated patients with more complex medical, mental health, and substance use needs.
“As we move forward to a smaller, safer and fairer criminal justice system, we’re exploring all options that will improve our justice system and end the era of mass incarceration,” said de Blasio.“That means pushing for creative solutions that will help improve the lives of people in custody by providing a more therapeutic environment that is so crucial to help people reenter their communities.”
Subject to design, the Therapeutic Housing Unit will be in secured, clinical units operated by CHS in areas separated from the public, as to not infringe on other patients or compromise security. The Department of Correction (DOC) will provide security, and decisions regarding admission to and discharge from the Outpost Therapeutic Housing Units will be made by CHS according to a patient’s clinical needs.
The creation of these Units will also follow significant investments in both hospitals, resulting in improved care and infrastructure. Additionally, the implementation of the Units will not compromise the quality of care or existing services within the hospitals.
Development and implementation of the Unit model will bridge the gap in the correctional health care continuum between care provided in jail and inpatient hospitalization with a focus on reentry and individual treatment plans.
Among the improvements since its transition to NYC Health + Hospitals in 2016, CHS has also launched the Geriatric and Complex Care Service, the first jail-based program of its type in the country, providing integrated clinical care and court advocacy to the oldest and most vulnerable patients in the jail system.
In addition, CHS has expanded what was already the largest jail-based opioid treatment program in the nation, overseeing the care of approximately 6,000 patients with an opioid use disorder annually.
Several Brooklyn lawmakers also hailed the initiative.
“As we work towards a more humane criminal justice system, we must implement the reforms that were recommended in the Lippman Commission’s report and work towards a jail system that is smaller, safer, and fairer,” said Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon (D-Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, Park Slope, Boerum Hill, DUMBO) . “I am glad to see that NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services has a plan to create 250 Therapeutic Housing Units to help people who are incarcerated consistent with their needs, which will help people with particularly complex medical, mental health, and substance use needs.”
“I commend the de Blasio administration for taking this important step toward making the criminal justice more person-centered and sensitive toward individual’s mental health care needs,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights). “We must continue to tap in the wealth of resources and expertise offered in our communities, and I am pleased that Woodhull Hospital will be participating in this program. These enhancements in our criminal justice system move us toward a more just society where less people are jailed or imprisoned because of lack of access to mental health care.”
“The Therapeutic Housing Units announced today are an innovative way to ensure that the incarcerated have access to the care that they need and deserve,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso (D-Bushwick, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and Ridgewood, Queens). “I am proud that Woodhull Hospital, which serves many residents in my district, will be a part of this creative new initiative. I am glad to see the de Blasio administration spearheading new ways to ensure that we break the cycle of incarceration in New York City.”