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Does Youth Incarceration Help or Hurt Future Health Outcomes of These Individuals? :

January 23, 2017

Nobody wants to see youth incarcerated, let alone arrested; yet during late adolescence and early adulthood, this unfortunately happens. So what does early incarceration mean as these individuals become older adults?

Nobody wants to see youth incarcerated, let alone arrested; yet during late adolescence and early adulthood, this unfortunately happens. So what does early incarceration mean as these individuals become older adults? Barnert et al. (REF) looked at more than 14000 adults who stayed in a national longitudinal study of adolescents becoming adults and looked at the relationship between cumulative incarcerations (from none to > 1year) before these individuals reached age 24 and their subsequent health outcomes. Sadly 14% of those enrolled in this study reported being incarcerated between adolescence and adulthood with the longer the duration of incarceration, the worse the health and functional outcomes of these individuals, including added mental health issues such as depression and suicidal thoughts.  So why do these unfortunate outcomes occur following incarceration and what can we do about it?  Drs. Ralph DiClemente from Emory and Dr. Gina Wingood from Columbia offer an editorial perspective on the issue of youth incarceration and ways we can change the trajectories described in the Barnert study.  This study and commentary really should be required reading for anyone trying to improve the future for the children and teens who experience adverse experiences in life.  Read both and see what we mean.




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