Roundtable: Measuring the Effects of Incarceration on Health and Wellbeing
(Crime and Drugs)

Friday, November 3, 2017: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Stetson D (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Roundtable Organizers:  Linda Mellgren, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Moderators:  Linda Mellgren, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Speakers:  Anupa Bir, RTI International, Akiva Liberman, Urban Institute, Jennifer L. Noyes, University of Wisconsin - Madison and Rashida Dorsey, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

This round table focuses on efforts to measure the effect of incarceration on individual and family wellbeing and possible options for data collection improvements. The United States incarcerates more people per capita than any other nation in the world and despite evidence from specially designed studies that incarceration has significant effects on individuals, families and communities, there is no routine collection on incarceration in our federal statistical system and very few program administrative data collection efforts, outside of specific criminal justice studies, include information on spells of incarceration. Currently incarceration and other criminal justice involvement can only be incorporated into information for policy makers from the few special studies that explicitly asked the question. There is no way to routinely assess how the extremely high rates of incarceration in the United States may be related to other indicators of health and well-being, such as communicable diseases, unemployment, poverty, or family structure. This round table will discuss the state of data collection on the effects of past-incarceration on individuals and their families using recent studies designed to assess such effects and new federal efforts to determine the feasibility of improving data collection on incarceration. The Multisite Family Study on Incarceration, Partnering and Parenting is a mixed methods study using survey data, administrative data and qualitative interviews to assess the effects of program interventions on post incarceration functioning. The Access to Medicaid as a Reentry Strategy Project reanalyzed the Oregon Medicaid Lottery Demonstration administrative data for a cohort of individuals who became eligible for the lottery while in prison and is following-up on those findings with qualitative data from another source. Using survey data to obtain information unavailable elsewhere, the Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration Evaluation (CSPED), a non-justice based intervention, found that almost 70 percent of participants had a criminal record. Lastly, the National Academy of Sciences Committee on National Incarceration Statistics Workshop examined the feasibility of adding questions on criminal justice involvement to HHS health based surveys. The round table participants will discuss: 1)policy question(s) their study was designed to address; 2)data collection options that were available; 3)data collection challenges and solutions; 4)methodological challenges associated with using multiple data collection methods; and 5)recommendations for improved data collection relating to spells of incarceration. Round table attendees will be asked to share their challenges and successes in collecting information on incarceration and other criminal involvement, to identify what information on criminal justice involvement is most critical for their work, and recommendations on how incarceration data can be routinely incorporated into information and analysis for policy making and program design.

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