An eye-opening study from the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital has found that young people who have been previously incarcerated are nearly six times more likely to experience early mortality than young people who have not been incarcerated.
The study, led by Donna Ruch, PhD, a research scientist in the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children's, looked at mortality rates and causes of death between two groups: young people 11-21 years old who had been incarcerated in Ohio’s juvenile legal system from 2010 to 2017, and a group of young people of the same age who were enrolled in Medicaid but not incarcerated.
The researchers found that out of 3,645 incarcerated youths, 113 died during the study period. The cause of death was homicide in nearly 56% of cases, accounting for more deaths than all other causes combined.
The study’s authors say that the study’s findings point to the need of better engaging with young people and families once incarceration is over.
“We need more information on the reentry process itself; not one solution fits all. We’d like to prevent delinquency in the first place, but we also need to do a better job supporting youths in this reentry process by assessing their needs, connecting them to appropriate resources, and establishing a target for intervention.”