Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research / 07.08.2019 Interview with: Nathan W. Link, PhD Department of Sociology, Anthropology, & Criminal Justice Rutgers University Camden, NJ 08102 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Much literature documents the physical and mental health problems ailing prisoners and those incarcerated in jails. Some research finds that incarceration can bring about or exacerbate these mental and physical health conditions. Beginning from this premise, we ask how this damaged health status influences former prisoners’ ability to return home and remain crime free. We examined physical health limitations and depression among a longitudinal sample of prisoners in twelve U.S. states and found that both dimensions of health problems lead to further criminal behavior and in turn reincarceration. This effect is of health conditions is indirect; it affects crime and reincarceration through adverse impacts on employment and family relationships—factors long known to be related to criminal offending. In this way, we now know that not only can incarceration lead to health problems, but health problems can lead to incarceration. This is important in a society with leading incarceration levels and wide health disparities across race and socioeconomic status. (more…)