Department of Health

Recent Articles

Family contact with prisoners known to reduce re-offending

Community asks commissioner to remove obstacles to such contact
By Raymond Jackson
Contributing Writer

 

On April 24, Reverend Jerry McAfee of New Salem Baptist Church hosted an event introducing Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Tom Roy and his staff to a listening audience greatly affected by the rules, regulations and policies of Minnesota correctional facilities. This was an audience whose cultural base is four percent of Minnesota’s population, yet from their community comes 50 percent of Minnesota’s incarcerated population: African Americans. The top three areas of concern were:

• a 10 percent increase in the surcharge applied to money sent to inmates,

• visitation and family contact, and

• educational opportunities for those incarcerated. Reverend McAfee, in his introduction and welcome, stated, “Our goal tonight is to get some information, to all of us, that tells exactly what the Department of Corrections does. Normally when we deal with the Department of Corrections it is from a negative perspective. Continue Reading →

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State’s Black teens show health gains, including reduced pregnancies

However, wellness gap remains between White youth and youth of color
Collectively, Minnesota’s teens are doing better today on key health measures than they were in the 1990s, according to a recent analysis by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Since the 1990s, students 12 to 19 years old from all racial and ethnic groups have experienced substantial declines in rates of smoking cigarettes, binge drinking, sexual activity, hitting or beating up another person, carrying a weapon on school property, drinking pop or soda, and riding in a car without a seat belt, according to The Health and Well-Being of Minnesota’s Adolescents of Color and American Indians: A Data Book (PDF: 3.62MB/86 pages) from the MDH. One exception is the level of emotional distress, which has remained basically the same since the mid-1990s. This marks the first time the MDH has systematically compared the health of teens from different ethnic and racial backgrounds — White, Latino, African American, Asian, and American Indian — and found a persistent wellness gap between Minnesota’s White adolescents and its adolescents of color and American Indians. “This teen fact book shows that efforts in some targeted areas have been working to protect adolescents of color and American Indians, but it also shows that much more needs to be done,” said Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota commissioner of health. Continue Reading →

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