As controversy surrounding the Affordable Care Act continues to occupy the national landscape, inequality in access to care, especially among disadvantaged groups such as prisoners, garners comparably scant attention. While the corrections literature has examined prisoner health in more depth, fewer studies have specifically addressed the effects of prison dental care. Drawing on a sample of 30 adult male parolees, our study examines their experiences with prison dental services, how it affected their relationships during incarceration, and their reintegrative experiences—particularly with regard to employment. We find that dental care protocols are such that they often discourage inmates from seeking treatment, resulting in or exacerbate a damaged maxillofacial appearance, and that the social and psychological implications for reintegration are profound.
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