Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Research on Inner City Health, St. Michael's Hospital; Family Physician, correctional facility
Fiona Kouyoumdjian is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at St. Michael's Hospital and a Family Physician at a provincial correctional facility in Hamilton, Ontario. She is an advisor with EvidenceNetwork.ca.
Canadians might be surprised to learn that many health and social services widely available in the community are not available in most of Canada's correctional facilities -- this needs to change. We are missing a critical window of opportunity to reframe the period of incarceration as a time to help people improve their health and well-being before returning to our communities.
It surprises most people to know that about one in 200 Canadians is detained or incarcerated in jail or prison every year, and that the average length of stay in these facilities is only a few weeks. Time spent in jail or prison can serve as an opportunity to improve health. But achieving this goal will require a change in attitudes about health care in custody and reforming health care in correctional facilities.