Patient, medical and legal perspectives on reentry: the need for a low-barrier, collaborative, patient-centered approach

Zoe Pulitzer, Maria Box, Laura Hansen, Yordanos M. Tiruneh, Ank E. Nijhawan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Worldwide, the United States has the highest incarceration rate per capita. Thousands of people are released from US correctional facilities each year, including many who are impacted by HIV infection and substance use disorder (SUD), two frequently comorbid conditions that present multiple challenges upon reentry. Reentry and care engagement research involving justice-involved people with HIV (PWH) with comorbid SUD has been largely limited to the perspective of those released. To formulate effective interventions for this population aimed at maintaining health and reducing recidivism, it is crucial to collect data from formerly incarcerated individuals with firsthand experience of the reentry process as well as other actors within the reentry framework. Insights from medical and legal service providers working in reentry systems have the potential to address key implementation concerns. To inform an intervention aimed at helping recently-released individuals PWH and SUD, we conducted a qualitative study to assess barriers and facilitators to community reentry from the perspectives of diverse consumers and providers of medical, legal, and reentry services. Results: Fifteen stakeholders within XXX County participated in in-person interviews. Results indicated that 1) Patients/clients emphasized psychosocial support and individual attitude more than medical and legal participants, who chiefly focused on logistical factors such as finances, housing, and transportation; 2) Patients/clients expressed both medical and legal needs during the reentry period, though medical providers and participants from legal entities mainly expressed concerns limited to their respective scopes of work; 3) All three participant groups underscored the need for a low-barrier, collaborative, patient-centered approach to reentry with the goal of achieving self-sufficiency. Conclusions: Findings support and extend existing literature detailing the barriers and facilitators to successful reentry. Our findings underscore the notion that an effective reentry intervention addresses both medical and legal needs, includes an individualized approach that incorporates psychosocial needs, and focuses on establishing self-sufficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number37
JournalHealth and Justice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Community health worker
  • HIV
  • Jail
  • Prison
  • Qualitative methods
  • Reentry
  • Substance use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Patient, medical and legal perspectives on reentry: the need for a low-barrier, collaborative, patient-centered approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this