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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Drexel: Researchers Document Variation in Public Housing Policies that Affect People with Criminal Records

A team of researchers from Drexel University, American University, and Yale School of Public Health, including Drexel alum (MPH 2016) Ms. Luwam T. Gebrekristos, led by Dr. Jonathan Purtle, assistant professor of health management and policy at the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health, identified major differences in the restrictiveness of public housing authority policies throughout the United States that impact people with criminal justice histories. The new study was published in the American Journal of Public Health.

The rate of incarceration in the United States remains higher than any other country in the world. Furthermore, Blacks are five times more likely to be incarcerated than Whites, according to the United States Department of Justice research. Reintegrating into the community post imprisonment poses many challenges that impact the health and wellbeing of these individuals — finding safe and affordable housing can be particularly challenging.

Researchers documented the restrictiveness of public housing policies related towards people with criminal justice histories and measured associations between restrictiveness and city-level factors such as racial/ethnic diversity, racial/ethnic neighborhood segregation, ideology, and public housing scarcity. They found that individuals with criminal records are affected by a range of policies that could keep them from obtaining and retaining public housing. These discriminatory policies can produce health inequities and health disparities among this population.

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