Jail Healthcare

By: Rebekah Baum
By: Rebekah Baum

Melissa Kohn is the first U of I College of Medicine student to seek a rotation at the jail...

"I very much so volunteered. I asked Dr. Hennley in the beginning when we first got the jail contract about a year ago if I could come and rotate here, and see what it's like work in a jail setting," says Kohn.

For the past 2 weeks, Kohn, a future ER doctor has been exposed to a different view of primary care medicine and the restrictions and limitations that come along with corrections health.

"Some of the treatment manners that we end up deciding to use are a little different--we do have some restrictions on what we have available, and what the inmates are allowed in their cells. You can't necessarily put a splint on someone's finger, it has metal on it--you can't really take that back to a cell," says Kohn.

"She's been able to experience a little bit about what corrections medicine is all about, and we hope when she goes back and either does private practice, or works for a clinic, that she'll have a better understanding as far as some of the diverse problems that we have in corrections medicine," says Captain Tim Owens with the Winnebago County Jail.

Owens says health services at the jail have improved significantly since the college took over...

"We have good responses, not only from my staff, but from the court--the court has not been contacting us with issues as far as medication and concerns about the inmates’ proper care, which has happened in the past," says Owens.

And once the new jail opens, more space and updated facilities will provide enhanced opportunities for education.

The college of medicine was awarded a 1.3 million dollar contract from the county. The new jail will have 2 exam rooms, 2 dental rooms and a triage room.

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