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Changes in Jail Admissions Before and After Traumatic Brain Injury

Published onJun 01, 2021
Changes in Jail Admissions Before and After Traumatic Brain Injury
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Changes in Jail Admissions Before and After Traumatic Brain Injury

Objectives: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is differentially concentrated within incarcerated populations. Despite the consistency of this observation, the timing of within-individual changes in criminal justice contact in relation to TBI remains under-investigated. For example, previous studies have primarily considered TBI as a causal influence of later criminal justice contact. However, TBI may also serve as a consequence of criminal justice contact or a criminogenic lifestyle. The current study simultaneously observes both possibilities by examining criminal justice contact before, around the time of, and after the first reported TBI. Methods: Drawing from a combination of self-report and lifetime official record data from a jail cohort admitted between February 2017 and September 2017 and who sustained their first reported TBI at age 21 or older (N = 531), the current study examines jail admissions in the 24 months before and 24 months after the first reported TBI and across eight biannual intervals (N = 4,248 person-periods). Results: Any and misdemeanor admissions slightly increased pre-TBI and continued to increase around the time of and following TBI, never returning to pre-TBI levels. Felony admissions decreased around the time of injury and increased post-TBI. The introduction of a comparison group further solidified these findings. Observed patterns did not vary across sex, but any and felony admissions increased around the time of TBI for those who experienced a loss of consciousness following injury. Conclusions: These findings indicate that criminal justice contact is greatest post-TBI, but that criminal justice contact also increases before sustaining a TBI.


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