Criminal Justice Contact and Health Service Utilization among Women across Health Care Settings: Analyzing the Role of Arrest

Kathryn Nowotny, Anastasiia Kuptsevych-Timmer, Carrie Oser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Background: It is well-established in the United States that incarceration negatively influences women's health, and researchers have called for examinations of the health effects of criminal justice contact more broadly. This study uses the behavioral model for vulnerable populations to document the prevalence of illness and health risks for recently arrested women, and examines potential ways that illness and health risks are associated with health service use across health care settings. Methods: We conducted a mediation analysis using pooled data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2010–2014). Results: These findings reveal that recent arrest is associated with different types of health care use among women. Specifically, women recently arrested are hospitalized and seek care at the emergency department at higher rates than non–recently arrested women and this may be associated with their vulnerable mental and behavioral health status. Conclusions: The findings suggest an increasing overlap between criminal justice and public health sectors. Increased access to appropriate health services is a necessary strategy to reduce resource intensive hospitalizations and emergency department use among women experiencing a recent arrest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalWomen's Health Issues
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Maternity and Midwifery

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