WVXU: A new University of Cincinnati study traces the impact of mass incarceration on young people and families

UC research finds poorer physical and mental health outcomes in children of parents in jail

A study by a UC College of Nursing researcher examines the impact of mass incarceration on young people and their families. Samantha Boch, PhD, worked as a nurse in several correctional systems in Ohio, which sparked an interest in the role mass incarceration has on prisoners and their families. Boch was interviewed for the WVXU program Cincinnati Edition. 

Samantha Boch, researcher in the College of Nursing.

Samantha Boch, PhD, of the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing/Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative + Brand

"A lot of my research today is motivated by my time I spent working in prison as a nurse," Boch says. "I started looking, first in grad school, about the effect of parental incarceration and realized that Ohio was ranked fourth in the nation for the number of children who have incarcerated parents but newer data suggests we are now sixth." 

Boch told WVXU that one in every 14 children in Ohio have had an incarcerated parent. 

"Health care systems don't routinely identify kids who have an incarcerated parent or a parent on parole or probation," Boch says. "We decided, because of the advent of big data, searching for the terms prison, parole, probation, jail, and the electronic medical records at Nationwide Children's Hospital. When we searched for these keywords, about 2% of kids had some sort of justice keyword in their chart, but they made up over half of all mental health disorders, selected mental health disorders ever diagnosed at this institution across a 14-year time span."

Access the WVXU interview here

Read more about Boch's research here

Lead photo/Pixabay

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