Homer Venters

Exposing the deadly health risks of incarceration

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About Homer Venters

Homer Venters is a leading expert in the field of medicine and epidemiology. His work aims to bridge together health systems, surveillance, and justice. As the Senior Health and Justice Fellow for Community Oriented Correctional Health Services (COCHS), his work focuses on medical assisted treatment (MAT) implementation, injury and death documentation, and traumatic brain injury reduction in the prison health system. Homer is the author of the critically acclaimed book Life and Death in Rikers Island. Homer is a physician by training and Clinical Associate Professor at the NYC College of Global Public Health. He has contributed to dozens of peer-reviewed scientific publications on topics of health and justice—work that has attracted congressional attention.

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About This Talk

After years of investigating injuries in the NYC jails, Prisoner Health Warrior Homer Venters determined that a new injury surveillance system is required in order to adequately report injuries among patients in jail settings. This led Homer to uncover how the jail setting itself could pose health risks to patients. Homer discovered two specific and deadly health risks of jail: “jail attributable death” and “dual loyalty”. Homer and his team began training health staff in jails and prisons on these concepts. With Homer’s help, the Justice Department launched a formal investigation into brutality behind bars, making way for transparency about data reporting in jails and prisons.

To learn about approaches that would make a tremendous difference in closing the “unconscionable divide” between community health and correctional health, watch Homer’s 2020 TEDMED Talk "Exposing the deadly health risks of incarceration".

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