Mass Probation and Health

While considerable attention has focused on the causes and consequences of mass incarceration, the majority of adults under criminal justice supervision in the U.S. are supervised through probation--a form of community supervision. Minnesota is an exemplar for this trend: While Minnesota has the sixth lowest incarceration rate in the nation, our community supervision rate is the seventh highest. Probation and supervised release violations represent a large share of prison admissions, are a key driver of Minnesota’s rising incarceration rate in recent years, and disproportionately impact people from racial and ethnic minority groups.

Individuals involved in the justice system are known to have high rates of chronic disease, mental illness, and substance use disorders. Despite the considerable health risks of those with criminal justice contact, how community-based criminal justice contact intersects with broader health disparities in our communities has been largely ignored. Our study aims to use Hennepin County as a strategic case study to better understand these relationships between community supervision, health, and well-being. We will use a mixed-methods approach to understand the health and health care patterns of adults on probation, the impact of individuals’ well-being on completing community supervision requirements, and racial and gender inequalities in these overlapping systems.

The Mass Probation and Health project is a collaboration between the University of Minnesota, Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, and Hennepin County, funded by a University of Minnesota's Driving Tomorrow Grand Challenges research grant. Our interdisciplinary team comprises researchers from law, medicine, psychology, and sociology; government officials; and community partners. The work will result in evidence-based policy and programmatic recommendations to help communities achieve lasting changes in health and supervision practices that are more just and equitable.

Click on the links to learn more about Project Team, Progress Updates, News, and Publications.

Thank you for visiting!