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Toward a criminal justice epidemiology: Behavioral and physical health of probationers and parolees in the United States

Publication Abstract

Vaughn, Michael G., Matt DeLisi, Kevin M. Beaver, Brian E. Perron, and Arnelyn Abdon. 2012. "Toward a criminal justice epidemiology: Behavioral and physical health of probationers and parolees in the United States." Journal of Criminal Justice, 40(3): 165-173.

Objective This study explicitly articulates a criminal justice epidemiology by examining the behavioral and physical health of probationers and parolees derived from a nationally representative sample of adults in the United States.

Methods Using public-use data from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), this study employed binary logistic regression with adjustments for complex survey sampling and compared probationers and parolees to the general population with respect to past-year substance use, risk perception, treatment experiences, and health.

Results After controlling for the effects of age, gender, race, income, and education probationers and parolees are far more likely to report using alcohol and drugs in the past year, have reduced risk perception, and are far more likely to have had some kind of treatment for substance abuse or dependence. Probationers and parolees are also significantly more likely to experience anxiety and depression, asthma, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Conclusions This criminal justice epidemiology study indicates that the behavioral health of probationers and parolees hamper efforts to increase public safety goals. Forging closer ties between criminal justice and public health systems is necessary to reach these goals.

DOI:10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2012.03.001 (Full Text)

Country of focus: United States of America.

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