Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 89, Issue 1, pp 98–107 | Cite as

Health Disparities and the Criminal Justice System: An Agenda for Further Research and Action

  • Ingrid A. BinswangerEmail author
  • Nicole Redmond
  • John F. Steiner
  • LeRoi S. Hicks


Although racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to be involved with the criminal justice system than whites in the USA, critical scientific gaps exist in our understanding of the relationship between the criminal justice system and the persistence of racial/ethnic health disparities. Individuals engaged with the criminal justice system are at risk for poor health outcomes. Furthermore, criminal justice involvement may have direct or indirect effects on health and health care. Racial/ethnic health disparities may be exacerbated or mitigated at several stages of the criminal justice system. Understanding and addressing the health of individuals involved in the criminal justice system is one component of a comprehensive strategy to reduce population health disparities and improve the health of our urban communities.


Prisons Health disparities Health care delivery 



We appreciate the thoughtful review of Thomas Denberg, MD, Ph.D. of earlier drafts of this manuscript. Dr. Binswanger is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Physician Faculty Scholars Program, by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (1R03DA029448-01), and by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ K12 HS019464). Dr. Redmond is supported by grant number T32HP10251 from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Hicks is supported by the Health Disparities program of Harvard Catalyst | The Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center (NIH Grant #1 UL1 RR 025758-01 and financial contributions from participating institutions). Dr. Steiner is supported by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (Grant # 1 U01 HL079208). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services or the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ingrid A. Binswanger
    • 1
    • 2
    • 10
    Email author
  • Nicole Redmond
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • John F. Steiner
    • 6
  • LeRoi S. Hicks
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
  1. 1.Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine and the Division of Substance Dependence, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Colorado School of Medicine CenterAuroraUSA
  2. 2.Community Health ServicesDenver Health Medical CenterDenverUSA
  3. 3.Division of Preventive Medicine, University of Alabama-BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  4. 4.Divisions of General Medicine and Primary Care and Medical CommunicationBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  5. 5.Department of MedicineHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  6. 6.Institute for Health ResearchKaiser PermanenteDenverUSA
  7. 7.Division of Hospital MedicineUniversity of Massachusetts Medical CenterWorcesterUSA
  8. 8.Division of General Internal MedicineBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  9. 9.Department of Health Care PolicyHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  10. 10.Division of General Internal MedicineUniversity of Colorado School of MedicineAuroraUSA

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