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Correctional Health Services Expands Enhanced Pre-Arraignment Health Screenings to Brooklyn Central Brooking

The new Enhanced Pre-Arraignment Screening Unit (EPASU) is projected to screen over 35,000 individuals pending arraignment at Brooklyn Central Booking in its first year

Since November 2016, the Manhattan EPASU has conducted approximately 76,000 health assessments and prevented 19,614 avoidable emergency room visits among people awaiting arraignment

Sep 17, 2018

New York, NY

NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services today announced the expansion of its Enhanced Pre-Arraignment Screening Unit (EPASU) to Brooklyn Central Booking. First launched at Manhattan Central Booking, the EPASU is designed to increase the scope of services provided during pre-arraignment screening, and will eventually be extended to all four of the City’s central booking facilities. The EPASU program currently conducts health screenings and assessments for medical and behavioral health needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for people pending arraignment in Manhattan. The Brooklyn EPASU is projected to screen approximately 35,000 individuals in its first year. The expansion is part of Correctional Health Services’ role in the City’s plan to decrease the jail population and promote health equity in the criminal justice system.

“The ability of this program to provide care at the court means more timely access to a heightened quality of treatment for people awaiting arraignment, ” said Dr. Mitch Katz, President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals. “It also means that emergency department resources in the hospitals are freed up to take care of medical emergencies that present from the community.”

“The Manhattan Enhanced Pre-Arraignment Screening Unit has been highly successful in identifying people with medical needs and supporting opportunities for alternatives to detention. Additionally, fully 26% of the individuals seen by the Manhattan EPASU would have had their case processing disrupted for an emergency room visit that we were instead able to handle on-site,” said Dr. Patsy Yang, Senior Vice President for NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services. “We are excited about this expansion into Brooklyn Central Booking and look forward to bringing the benefits of this program to more people as we continue to expand the program citywide.”

The EPASU model expands the scope of services and capacity of the City’s pre-arraignment screening units. Key elements of the program include:

  • Teams of Correctional Health Services clinical staff to conduct medical and behavioral health screenings. Depending on the individual’s needs, more in-depth screening and/or treatment is provided.
  • Reducing avoidable emergency department visits and disruptions in case processing by providing treatment and medication onsite in the court buildings. The need for FDNY/EMS transportation with NYPD escorts is also reduced.
  • Supporting diversion from detention to treatment alternatives for arrestees with behavioral health conditions. The diversion liaison identifies eligible individuals and can, with consent, provide relevant information to the defense attorneys to facilitate connections to alternatives to detention at arraignment or subsequent court appearances.
  • Improving coordination of care by sharing critical health information electronically with jail-based Correctional Health Services staff to prioritize the care of individuals who go to jail and are in need of medical attention and behavioral health services.

Since the EPASU launched its 24/7 operation in November 2016, approximately 76,000 screenings at Manhattan Central Booking have been performed. Nearly 3,000 individuals with acute medical needs, such as asthma and hypertension, were given medication to manage their conditions. The EPASU prevented an estimated 19,614 unnecessary emergency room visits. With patient consent, EPASU staff have shared more than 2,500 behavioral health summaries with legal defense groups to assist with client advocacy.

Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice said, “The expansion of the Pre-Arraignment Screening Unit shows how, using approaches based on evidence, we can make a difference in the lives of those who come into contact with the criminal justice system. Through a common sense approach, rooted in science, the Pre-Arraignment Screening Unit has ensured that those in need of assistance get it expeditiously and has opened the door to appropriate diversions from jail.”

“Expanding this highly-effective pilot program into Brooklyn is in the best interest of those awaiting arraignment, the medical professionals working to identify health issues as early as possible, and the police officers who are able to more-quickly resume their patrol functions. These health screenings allow for early identification of medical, mental health, and substance abuse issues, and can potentially help offenders avoid future dealings with the criminal justice system. That is a tremendous benefit to all New Yorkers, in every neighborhood,” said NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill.

“By ensuring that more individuals pending arraignment get the medical treatment they need, we can improve community health outcomes and give patients the dignity they deserve. I am pleased that the Enhanced Pre-Arraignment Screening Unit is expanding to Brooklyn Central Booking and I applaud NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services for continuing their commitment to serving patients from pre-arraignment through discharge with compassionate and high-quality health care,” said U.S. Representative Nydia M. Velásquez.

“The expansion of the EPASU program into Brooklyn Central Booking will help assess the overall health of those individuals waiting to be arraigned and provide them adequate treatment as needed,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “This is another effort undertaken by our City’s administration to promote health equity within our criminal justice system, which will bring us one step closer to having a more equitable system for all New Yorkers.”

“People awaiting arraignment shouldn’t lose access to health care,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried. “The EPASU program provides necessary care and is an important link between patients and other critical services such as diversion and treatment programs. I applaud H+H/Correctional Health Services for the expansion of this important program and any program that expands access to care.”

“I applaud NYC Health + Hospitals for taking an important step forward in meeting the medical needs of those in the criminal justice system by bringing the Enhanced Pre-Arraignment Screening Unit to Brooklyn Central Booking. This innovative program screens and identifies individuals with pre-existing conditions to cut down on avoidable emergency room visits and reduce disruptions in case processing later down the road.” said Assembly Member David I. Weprin. “As chair of the Assembly Committee on Correction, I thank Dr. Mitch Katz, President & CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals, for his efforts to promote equity in New York’s criminal justice system by bringing preventative care to Brooklyn Central Booking.”

“Providing comprehensive health care services to all Brooklynites is essential to cultivating a healthier, stronger, and safer borough,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “I commend NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services for expanding their medical and behavioral screening services to those awaiting arraignment at Brooklyn Central Booking. Everyone involved in the criminal justice system should have the same access to quality medical attention as anyone else in our city.”

“Widening correctional health services to boroughs beyond Manhattan is a step forward for criminal justice reform. When we identify physical or mental health needs during the arraignment process, it opens the door for rehabilitation, which can impact population in our jails. I thank NYC Health and Hospitals and the Mayor’s office for investing in these programs in Brooklyn,” said Keith Powers, Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee.