Changes in Jail Admissions Before and After Traumatic Brain Injury

Joseph A. Schwartz, Emily M. Wright, Ryan Spohn, Michael F. Campagna, Benjamin Steiner, Ebonie Epinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is differentially concentrated within incarcerated populations. Despite the consistency of this observation, the timing of within-individual changes in criminal justice contact in relation to TBI remains under-investigated. For example, previous studies have primarily considered TBI as a causal influence of later criminal justice contact. However, TBI may also serve as a consequence of criminal justice contact or a criminogenic lifestyle. The current study simultaneously observes both possibilities by examining criminal justice contact before, around the time of, and after the first reported TBI. Methods: Drawing from a combination of self-report and lifetime official record data from a jail cohort admitted between February 2017 and September 2017 and who sustained their first reported TBI at age 21 or older (N = 531), the current study examines jail admissions in the 24 months before and 24 months after the first reported TBI and across eight biannual intervals (N = 4,248 person-periods). Results: Any and misdemeanor admissions slightly increased pre-TBI and continued to increase around the time of and following TBI, never returning to pre-TBI levels. Felony admissions remained stable around the time of injury and increased post-TBI. Further analyses that incorporated a comparison group revealed that these patterns are unique to the TBI group and not a result of a larger systematic process. Conclusions: These findings indicate that the probability of jail admission is greatest post-TBI, but also increases leading up to sustaining a TBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1033-1056
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Quantitative Criminology
Issue number4
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Collateral consequences
  • Criminal justice contact
  • Jail
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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