Physical Health, Medical Care Access, and Medical Insurance Coverage of Youth Returning Home After Incarceration: A Systematic Review

J Correct Health Care. 2020 Apr;26(2):113-128. doi: 10.1177/1078345820915908. Epub 2020 Apr 1.


Youth reentry following incarceration is a subject of active health care policy innovation and debate. We systematically searched PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar for research articles on physical health status or medical care access related to youth reentry (i.e., children and adolescents under 18 years of age). A total of 2,187 articles were identified in the search. After applying exclusion criteria, 10 articles remained. Those included covered general physical health (four articles), medical insurance coverage (five), noninsurance barriers to care and care utilization (five), and reentry youths' prioritization of needs (four). Despite vulnerable health status, the literature on youths' physical health status and medical care access during reentry is sparse, signifying a disconnect in research priorities. The findings suggest that intervention trials on youth reentry and health are needed and that that policy makers should be concerned with Medicaid policy reform.

Keywords: health care access; insurance; juvenile justice; physical health; reentry youth; youth incarceration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Health Policy
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage*
  • Insurance, Health*
  • Medicaid
  • Prisoners*
  • United States