In the U.S. criminal justice system in 2014, an estimated 2.2 million people were in incarcerated or under correctional supervision on any given day, and another 4.7 million were under community supervision such as probation or parole. The ability to measure the effects of criminal justice involvement and incarceration on health and health disparities has been a challenge, due largely to limited and inconsistent measures on criminal justice involvement and any data on incarceration in health data collections. The presence of a myriad of confounding factors, such as socioeconomic status and childhood disadvantage, also makes it hard to isolate and identify a causal relationship between criminal justice involvement and health. The Bureau of Justice Statistics collects periodic health data on the people who are incarcerated at any given time, but few national-level surveys have captured criminal justice system involvement for people previously involved in the system or those under community supervision—nor have they collected systematic data on the effects that go beyond the incarcerated individuals themselves.
This publication from the Committee on National Statistics summarizes a workshop held in March 2016 that was organized as part of an effort to assist the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation and Office of the Minority Health (OMH) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in identifying measures of criminal justice involvement that will further their understanding of the socioeconomic determinants of health. The workshop was structured to bring together a range of experts—on incarcerated populations, on indicators of criminal justice involvement, in methods for social measurement, and on the consequences of criminal justice experience on health and life-course events—to facilitate discussion of measures and mechanisms most promising for expanding OMH’s data collections in this field.
Sponsor: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Read more and download workshop materials here.