The Affordable Care Act and the Demography of the Criminal Justice Population 

Awarded Scholars:
Carmen Gutierrez, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Project Date:
Sep 2019
Award Amount:

Approximately 70-80 percent of people in jail and prison and 30-50 percent of those on probation or parole have a mental health or substance use disorder, compared to about 10 percent of all adults. While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) substantially increased health insurance coverage among this population, the effects of expanded coverage and the extent to which the effects vary by race and ethnicity or education, remain unknown. Leveraging variation across states in the implementation of the ACA, sociologist Carmen Gutierrez will examine the extent to which increases in health care coverage have affected the size, composition, and geographic distribution of the criminal justice population. She will explore this relationship to study the mechanisms that influence both the risk of criminal justice involvement and the specific relationship between criminal justice involvement and health. 


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