Prisons Healthcare worker handing medication to inmate

The Division of Comprehensive Health Services envisions correctional facilities as public health stations that significantly impact the larger community. The staff promotes healthcare excellence by providing community-consistent and cost-effective quality healthcare through a collaborative partnership between internal and external healthcare professionals.

Medical Services

The division provides full spectrum, evidence-based, compassionate, and constitutionally-consistent medical care to all offenders in custody from the time of entry through release, striving to leverage overall health as a contributing factor toward safe transition from prison, improving public health, and decreasing recidivism. 

As part of a multi-disciplinary care team, licensed and credentialed clinicians provide emergent, acute, routine and chronic health care and preventive medicine at all prison facilities, as well as coordinate with specialists and other clinical consultants outside of prisons throughout the state to ensure comprehensive health and well-being.

Nursing Services

Nursing Services delivers ethical, quality health care to offenders. Functioning as an integral part of both the custody and health care multidisciplinary teams, Nursing Services participates in the planning and implementation of safe, evidenced-based health care. By providing patient assessment, medication administration, crisis intervention, treatments, education and patient advocacy, Nursing Services is committed to improving the overall health and well-being of the individuals we serve.  

Behavioral Health Services

The Behavioral Health Services section delivers comprehensive care and treatment to offenders with a mental illness, substance use disorder, intellectual deficit, and other developmental disabilities. Treatment programs are based on a multi-disciplinary treatment team model, and services are provided to prevent, control, reduce, or eliminate conditions that can contribute to an offender’s mental health or emotional difficulties. Services include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders and mental health problems;
  • Emergency services with crisis intervention;
  • Outpatient services; 
  • Residential services;
  • In-patient services;
  • Substance use programs;
  • Special programs designed to provide services for offenders placed in specific behavioral health categories (sexual offense-specific treatment, day treatment for individuals with a developmental disability, and therapeutic diversion units for offenders with a mental disorder and assigned to a restrictive housing unit);
  • Training;
  • Staff development; and
  • Program evaluation.

Dental Services

Dental professionals provide comprehensive care to offenders using state-of-the-art equipment. Routine, urgent and emergency dental treatment is available that includes preventive, restorative, oral surgery, and prosthetic services. Community partners may assist when complex specialty services are required. 

Offenders also receive instruction in oral hygiene techniques to maintain good oral health and promote self-esteem. The goal is to provide necessary, cost-effective care that meets or exceeds community standards. 

Healthcare Administration Section 

This section provides ancillary support to all clinical programs within the department. The section ensures that all contracted services, personal and non-personal, comply with all local, state and federal regulations, as well as provide the best value healthcare to all our stakeholders. The section also supports all clinical disciplines by ensuring that all credentialed contracted providers are available to supplement our existing health care teams. By doing so, the department continues to provide cost-effective healthcare to our offenders.

The administrative section also uses statewide telehealth technology to enhance the delivery of healthcare to offenders. Telehealth equipment allows offenders to access specialty encounters with healthcare providers in the community without leaving the secure confines of the facility. This cost-effective initiative allows correctional officers to provide security inside facilities, thereby enhancing public safety by limiting exposure for non-urgent medical conditions. This initiative saves the Department and taxpayers millions of dollars each year and provides expanded access to care.

Psychiatric Services 

Approximately 6,000 people, or about 20% of all offenders, currently receive psychiatric services that are available in the state prison system. Common diagnoses include substance use disorders, psychotic and bipolar disorders, trauma-related disorders, and depressive, anxiety and personality disorders. In addition to the sentenced prison population, psychiatric care is available to the safekeeper population (pre-trial detainees who need a level of care beyond what could be provided in their county jail and sent via a court order to the state prison system). 

NCDAC has a variety of care levels available and is one of the few prison systems in the country that offers inpatient psychiatric services, with 144 beds at Central Prison in Raleigh for male offenders, and 10 beds at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh.

Most psychiatry care is now provided via telepsychiatry. Virtual clinics are held on an ongoing basis at more than 30 state prison facilities. Telepsychiatry allows services to be offered to offenders housed in rural counties where there are limited numbers of available providers. An ongoing collaboration with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Department of Psychiatry is in place whereby faculty provide direct clinical care to offenders and participate in ongoing medical education for the Division of Health Services’ psychiatric providers. 

Pharmacy Services

Pharmacy Services provides quality, comprehensive, timely statewide pharmaceutical healthcare to offenders. Community-standard pharmaceutical healthcare is delivered by dispensing drugs and medical supplies per Drug Formulary guidelines and a prior authorization approval process. For lowest market cost and decreased financial expenditure, procurement of drugs and medical supplies is accomplished through participation in a nationwide government Group Purchasing Organization and the Federal 340B Drug Pricing Program. 

To reduce labor expenditures and improve efficiency and accuracy, Pharmacy Services utilizes automation technology for dispensing and delivery of medication. As trusted healthcare professionals, pharmacists provide clinical consultation to the DAC healthcare staff and offenders.   In collaboration with the DAC healthcare team, Pharmacy Services promotes wellness, patient safety, disease state prevention and management, and optimized healthcare outcomes for offenders.   

Medical Records Center - 984-204-8398; Fax 919-715-1581