Inequities in life course criminal legal system sanctions: measuring cumulative involvement.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

PURPOSE: The impact of incarceration on health is well known. Yet, most studies measure incarceration alone and miss additional exposure to the criminal legal system over time. We evaluated adult criminal legal sanctions - inclusive of arrests, charges, probation, incarceration - from ages 18-35 and inequities by juvenile sanctions and race. METHODS: Using the National Longitudinal Survey on Youth 1997, a nationally representative data set of adolescents followed into their mid-thirties (1997-2017), we calculated the mean cumulative count, or the average number of criminal legal events per person per study visit, stratified by juvenile sanctions and race. RESULTS: Of 7024 participants, 1679 experienced 3,075 encounters. There were seven arrests, 30 charges, nine probation encounters, and 13 incarceration events /100 participants by age 35. Juvenile sanctions were most common for Black individuals. Among those experiencing juvenile sanctions, Black and White individuals had similar numbers of encounters, but Black individuals had more arrests and incarceration stays. For those without juvenile encounters, Black individuals had more encounters than White individuals. CONCLUSIONS: Research on health effects of criminal legal sanctions must consider encounters beyond incarceration and focus on life course trajectories and racial inequities.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • LeMasters, K; Renson, A; Edwards, JK; Robinson, WR; Brinkley-Rubinstein, L; Delamater, P; Pence, B

Published Date

  • December 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 76 /

Start / End Page

  • 83 - 90

PubMed ID

  • 36273701

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-2585

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.annepidem.2022.10.007


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States