Exposure to the US Criminal Legal System and Well-Being: A 2018 Cross-Sectional Study.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Objectives. To assess the association between exposure to the US criminal legal system and well-being.Methods. We used data from the 2018 Family History of Incarceration Survey, a nationally representative cross-sectional study of family incarceration experience (n = 2815), which includes measures of participants' own criminal legal system exposure, including police stops, arrests, and incarceration. We measured well-being across 5 domains-physical, mental, social, spiritual, and overall life evaluation-and analyzed trends in well-being by criminal legal system exposure using logistic regression.Results. Exposure to police stops, arrests, and incarceration were each associated with lower well-being in every domain compared with those not exposed. Longer durations of incarceration and multiple incarcerations were associated with progressively lower well-being. Those who were stopped and frisked by the police had low well-being similar to that of those who had been incarcerated multiple times.Conclusions. Any exposure to police contact or incarceration is associated with lower well-being in every domain. More involved exposure is associated with even lower well-being.Public Health Implications. Jail diversion and broader criminal justice reform may improve population-level well-being by reducing police contact and incarceration.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Sundaresh, R; Yi, Y; Roy, B; Riley, C; Wildeman, C; Wang, EA

Published Date

  • January 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 110 / S1

Start / End Page

  • S116 - S122

PubMed ID

  • 31967880

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6987921

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1541-0048

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0090-0036

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2105/ajph.2019.305414


  • eng