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How does the imprisonment of black people affect their deaths? – Healthcare Economist


According to a study by Bovell-Ammon et al. (2021) in the JAMA Open, the answer is ‘yes’. The authors use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79), which tracks a group of undocumented youth between the ages of 15 and 22 in 1979 through 2018. incarcerated. Since the high mortality rate can reduce the chances of imprisonment, the increased incidence leads to a combined risk of creating an inconsistent presence in prisons; difference by measuring the difference between groups and color using Gray nonparametric tests.

Not surprisingly, black people were more likely to be arrested. Between the ages of 22 and 50, 11.5% of blacks were imprisoned (more than 1 in every 9 blacks) compared with 2.5% of non-blacks (1 in 40 all non-blacks).

The authors looked at whether the increased incarceration rate affected death. Inmates may differ from those who are not on reasons that may be related to the number of people incarcerated and death (e.g., sex, education, parental income). To address this, the authors review the person’s sexuality, parental education, state health care assistance, and all family expenses. The authors use the Cox proportional hazard model to measure the effects of these factors and imprisonment on a mortality rate.

The authors found that incarceration significantly affected the death threats of blacks but not those of non-blacks.

In the various versions of the Cox proportional hazards model with a complete group, the time-varying manifestations of the construct are linked to the increased mortality (HR modification. [aHR], 1.35; 95% CI (0.97-1.88), results that were not statistically significant. In the racially followed groups, incarceration was significantly associated with mortality rates among black participants (aHR, 1.65; 95% CI, 1.18–2.31) but not among non-black participants (aHR, 1.17; 95%) CI, 0.68-2.03). .

An article by Sykes et al. (2021), however, doubt the findings. As I mentioned above, inmates may be different from those in prison for a number of reasons. which affects both those who are arrested and those who die. Pomwe Bovell-Ammon et al. (2021) focuses on a number of tangible factors (e.g., race, parental education, receiving family support), there may still be intangibles that are not considered. Sykes and his fellow writers wrote:

For example, considering that people at risk of incarceration and incarceration may differ in visible and invisible form, what is the antidote to arrest? In a study by Ruch et al,2 Young people who have not been sentenced to prison but who have been in prison (or medical programs) may have similar behaviors to young people in the juvenile justice system than to non-prison youth who are receiving Medicare. Similarly, people who are guilty but not detained may be more likely to be a model for incarcerated people in NLSY79 than the unresolved model used as a comparison group in the study of Bovell-Ammon et al.

While Sykes feels that selective discrimination may mean that the death toll is much higher, other factors may indicate that Bovell-Ammon estimates are much lower. For example,

Researchers have recently begun to explore the power of arrests to address the physical and emotional limitations that accompany age (or aging). Rapid aging shows that inmates often show a history of health that appears to be older than their age and that they face a very early problem. But rapid aging research has focused on adult inmates and should investigate the effects of aging on incarcerated children experiencing natural, psychological, and cultural development.

Furthermore, the Bovell-Ammon paper looks at young adults in 1979 and does not take into account the number of people in prison – and the changes that may change in prisons – in future years. Despite these limitations, this paper raises important issues that need to be investigated further.



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