Davis, Rindcy E. and Douglas N. Evans (2018). Associations Between Mass Incarceration and Community Health in New York City. Public Health, 161: 43-48.
Incarceration has escalated over the past four decades in the United States, creating a number of negative consequences for individuals, families, and communities. This study seeks to identify the associations between mass incarceration and health behaviors/perceptions on a neighborhood level. Using the street intercept method, we collected in-person survey data from residents in two New York City neighborhoods (one in the South Bronx and the other in Northern Manhattan) with similar levels of social disadvantage but significantly different rates of jail admission. Respondents in both neighborhoods self-reported similar ratings of their physical health. Significant differences between neighborhoods include incidence of fast food consumption over the past week, alcohol use over the last 3 months, and perceptions of the occurrence of teen pregnancy in the neighborhood. This study hopes to inform future researchers and interventionists about associations between mass incarceration and health-related behaviors/perceptions to facilitate consideration of this increasingly common social factor as a determinant of community health in future research.