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The case for nurses as central providers of health and social care services for ex-offenders: a discussion paper




A discussion on the case for nurse-led community delivery of health and social care interventions to ex-offenders.


Ex-offenders re-enter their communities with limited pre-release preparation for the continuity of access to health care once outside prison. Once released, these individuals become hard to reach, do not consider health a priority and consequently use services to address their health and social care needs in a crisis-led way. Nevertheless, how nurses can best support these health-excluded group of individuals in the community remains vague and requires discussion.


Discussion paper.

Data sources

Several databases were searched for papers published in English from 1990–2012 using the Population, Intervention and Outcome framework to help structure search.


It is argued that current dominant discourses around equity of care are contradicted in the provision of health and social care services to ex-offenders in the community. Effective engagement with community interventions may be achieved if ex-offenders maintain contact with frontline providers who can support both their structural and health needs.

Implication for nursing

Nurses are uniquely positioned to initiate and sustain contact with ex-offenders, intervening at points of greatest need in the community to address the socially significant health and social care issues that plague them.


The use of nurses in the provision of health and social care interventions to ex-offenders is a strategy, which could increase equity in access to health care, reduce reoffending and improve both the health and life chances of these individuals.