February 21, 2012
"Outside the Walls: Life Beyond HIV" is a four-minute video that will be shown inside the walls of Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) facilities starting this year. The video is an educational and inspirational personal account from two formerly incarcerated individuals who have taken control of their health care upon release from prison. The purpose of this video is to help encourage discussion around re-entry planning for people living with HIV. In order to make health care a priority, the video reaffirms the importance of knowing one's status, and getting regular HIV tests.
IDOC offers testing to offenders from intake through discharge. Upon discharge, individuals are connected to HIV case managers and resources through community groups, such as AFC, to establish regular health care and a network of support. Studies have shown that HIV prevalence is higher for incarcerated populations than for the general population.
"Educating offenders inside the facilities is an important step to providing our inmate population with vital testing information, and can serve to reach people who have previously missed out on HIV and AIDS education," said Illinois Department of Corrections Director S.A. Godinez. "This video also gives specific HIV resource information to offenders re-entering society who may not have otherwise sought out services."
"This partnership between AFC and Illinois Department of Corrections is a great example of how collaboration can bolster our collective efforts to increase HIV/AIDS awareness and improve the health of the re-entry population," said Reverend Doris J. Green, AFC Director of Correctional Health and Community Affairs. "People perish for lack of knowledge and this video aims to empower people to take the first step toward knowing their status."
AFC works with IDOC and a variety of public and private partners, including housing agencies, case management providers, and other correctional facilities to link individuals living with HIV/AIDS to the services they need. The AFC model aims to create a seamless continuum of services and care for this hard-to-reach and transient population by improving linkages between correctional facilities and community agencies.
The video is available for free download at: http://bit.ly/outsidethewalls and is also being distributed in Chicago neighborhoods as a DVD through Men & Women in Prison Ministries, a non-profit organization that provides support to incarcerated populations, their families, and the community at large. It can also be viewed here.