One in a series of papers being published from the Executive Session on Community Corrections (2013-2017), this paper proposes viewing crime prevention through a new lens that involves the analysis of integrated data from both health care and criminal justice, with an illustrative case study provided from Camden, New Jersey.
The Camden case study involved the integration of health care and criminal justice data for people who cycle in and out of hospitals and police precincts. Working under a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, researchers from the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers (the Coalition) integrated existing data sets in an effort to identify and analyze the experiences of people with a significant number of contacts with both the healthcare and criminal justice systems. By analyzing these cross-sector data, Coalition researchers determined that a small number of Camden residents had a disproportionate impact on the healthcare and criminal justice sectors. Separately, neither of the systems focused on addressing underlying problems faced by these people. These critical issues included housing instability, inconsistent or insufficient income, trauma, inadequate nutrition, lack of supportive social networks, mental illness, and substance abuse disorders. These unaddressed issues apparently produced a cycle of arrests and hospitalizations. The holistic view provided by integrated data will enable researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to design earlier interventions to prevent crime and the use of jail and emergency departments because of unmet social and physical needs. After presenting the Camden study's key findings from the analysis of integrated hospital and police data, this paper outlines the potential impact of integrated data analysis on public safety, public health, and public policy. 4 figures, 2 tables, and 27 references