Northwestern researcher to discuss consequences of incarceration at AAAS annual meeting

February 08, 2021

CHICAGO --- Northwestern University professor and researcher Linda Teplin will discuss the psychosocial outcomes of incarcerated youth at the virtual 2021 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting.

Teplin will moderate the scientific session "Consequences of Incarceration on Health Inequity and Racial Injustice" at 2 p.m. EST, Monday, Feb. 8. During the session, she will also present "Consequences of Incarceration in Detained Youth: A 15-Year Longitudinal Study."

Nearly 2.2 million Americans are incarcerated annually, higher than all other industrialized nations. Racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected: African Americans and Hispanics comprise about one-third of the general population, but nearly two-thirds of adults in prison. Despite recent publicity about mass incarceration, few empirical studies have examined its short- and long-term consequences on health inequities and racial injustice. The scientific session will address this omission.

Following the scientific session, Teplin will present at a virtual press briefing at 3 p.m. EST, Monday, Feb. 8, to discuss how the experience of incarceration affects age-appropriate life course achievements, such as education and employment, healthy romantic relationships, and mental health, as well as how consequences differ by sex, race and ethnicity.

Teplin, a behavioral scientist, is the principal investigator for the Northwestern Juvenile Project, the first large-scale longitudinal study of health needs and outcomes of 1,829 delinquent youth in the 15 years following their detention as juveniles. She is the Owen L. Coon Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and director of the Health Disparities and Public Policy Program in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The session "Consequences of Incarceration on Health Inequity and Racial Injustice" convenes the principal investigators of four landmark studies: the "Northwestern Juvenile Project," a large-scale longitudinal study of youth in the juvenile justice system; the "Michigan Study of Life After Prison," a natural experiment comparing prison inmates with convicted offenders on probation; and the "Rikers Island Longitudinal Study" and "Pennsylvania Solitary Study," investigations of jail and prison inmates.

Speakers will discuss the consequences of juvenile detention, jail and prison on socioeconomic well-being, recidivism as well as physical and mental health. The panelists also will address how these findings can guide public health and criminal justice reform.

(Source contact: Linda Teplin at

Northwestern University

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