Giving Compass’ Take:
• The authors analyze the connection between incarceration and adverse health conditions, and what can potentially help reduce negative associations by improving prison conditions.
• What are changes at the policy level that can address any detrimental environments in prison that contribute to poor health among the incarcerated population? How can donors get involved?
• Read about how mass incarceration harms U.S. health.
The dramatic expansion of the US penal system during the past 4 decades has led to an increase in adverse health conditions that affect an unprecedented number of individuals.
This article first provides an overview of the literature on the immediate and lasting associations between incarceration and physical health, highlighting the diverse health conditions linked with incarceration, including health functioning, infectious disease, chronic conditions, and mortality.
Next, we discuss potential explanations for the associations between incarceration and these health conditions, focusing on stress, contagion, social integration, and reintegration challenges.
We then consider how medical and social science research can be combined to advance our understanding of these health conditions and suggest ways to reduce the negative association between incarceration and health, such as by improving prison conditions and medical care both inside prisons and after release.
Read the full report about the relationship between health and incarceration by Michael Massoglia and Brianna Remster at SAGE Journals.
A burgeoning literature indicates a negative relationship between incarceration and health. However, research has only begun to untangle the complex pathways linking incarceration and health inside and outside of prison.