U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Principles to Guide National Data Collection on the Health of Persons in the Criminal Justice System.

NCJ Number
Public Health Reports Volume: 134 Dated: 2019 Pages: 34S-45S
Igrid A. Binswanger; Laura M. Maruschak; Shane R. Mueller; Marc F. Stern; Stuart A. Kinner
Date Published
12 pages
Because most national public health data-collection systems exclude persons in correctional facilities and do not record information about previous involvement in the criminal justice system, this article discusses the need for and development of a strategy to expand the collection of national data on the health of the population involved in the criminal justice system.
In order to ensure that the data collected effectively address the needs of various stakeholders, it is important to identify the purposes for their collection. This is important for health data related to the criminal justice system, because of the distinctive ethical, logistical, timing, and scientific challenges involved in collecting data in these settings. In addition to discussing the importance of collecting health data on the justice-involved population, this article identifies challenges in collecting health data on this population, along with the purposes and principles of such data collection. Among the purposes identified are health surveillance, health promotion and disease prevention, health care performance and patient value, health equity, and human rights legal considerations. It is envisioned that the collection of such data using the proposed data-collection principles will result in valid, reliable, and useful data to improve understanding of the health needs and characteristics of persons under the care and treatment of the criminal justice system. 2 tables and 85 references