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The Influence of Routine Health care on Reoffending in a Sample of Gun Involved Youths

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In the wake of heightened concerns about gun violence and its impacts on youth, “what works” in gun violence prevention remains a critical public health concern. Gun violence prevention in the U.S. is increasingly interdisciplinary, involving both the criminal legal system and the health care system in developing an evidence base for promising programs and policies. The current study contributes to the literature by examining recidivism outcomes (i.e., rearrest) for a cohort of n = 409 Indianapolis youth involved in gun violence who were court-ordered to complete a health education-based prevention program called Project Life. The youth in our sample were predominantly from marginalized communities, all had been charged with a gun-involved or violence offense, 96% were detained by the juvenile justice system for some time, and 64% received at least one routine well check within five years prior to Project Life. Survival analyses of merged juvenile court records and health records show that routine health care (i.e., well visits) and completing the Project Life program were protective against recidivism, whereas time spent in detention increased risk. The findings provide evidence for the value of interdisciplinary approaches that include the health system in disrupting cycles of gun violence, while reducing the carceral footprint on youth.

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  6. Source: Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.


  8. Analyses conducted in StataMP 18. We use stcox to estimate Cox model, estat phtest to test proportional hazards assumption, and evalue to run sensitivity analysis. Hazard/survival curves are plotted using stcurve.


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The authors thank the Joyce Foundation for their generous support of this work.

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Correspondence to Natalie Kroovand Hipple.

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Ethical approval to conduct this study obtained from the Indiana University, Bloomington Institutional Review Board (IRB Protocol #1909979876).

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Hipple, N.K., Lentz, T.S. & Lewis, S.D. The Influence of Routine Health care on Reoffending in a Sample of Gun Involved Youths. J Community Health 49, 277–285 (2024).

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