More than 1.3 million adults are in correctional facilities, including jails and federal and state prisons, in the United States. Health care of the inmates is an integral component of correctional management. Health services in correctional facilities underwent dramatic improvements during the 1970s. Public policy trends beginning in the early 1980s substantially affected the demographics and health status of jail and prison populations and threatened earlier gains in the health care of inmates. Correctional health services are seldom considered in discussions about health policy and health care reform.