Integrated Health Care and Criminal Justice Data — Viewing the Intersection of Public Safety, Public Health, and Public Policy Through a New Lens: Lessons from Camden, New Jersey

April 5, 2018
Authors: Anne Milgram, Jeffrey Brenner, Dawn Wiest, Virginia Bersch, and Aaron Truchil

The Executive Session on Community Corrections released a new paper entitled Integrated Health Care and Criminal Justice Data – Viewing the Intersection of Public Safety, Public Health, and Public Policy Through A New Lens: Lessons from Camden, New Jersey.

  • “It’s no secret that both our criminal justice system and our health care system are failing. What's surprising is how much they have in common. By linking health and crime data, this paper reveals that the majority of people cycling through the criminal justice system are also cycling through our nation’s emergency rooms. Recognizing this relationship provides a better understanding of each system and offers us new insight into opportunities for meaningful reform.” –Anne Milgram, Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at New York University Law School

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In this new report co-authored by Anne Milgram, Jeffrey Brenner, Dawn Wiest, Virginia Bersch, and Aaron Truchil, the authors discuss that when stakeholders in Camden, New Jersey integrated health care and criminal justice data, they found that a small number of Camden residents disproportionately use the health care and criminal justice sectors. Ultimately, integrated data can lead to better individual outcomes, reduced crime and system cycling, and increased efficiency by directing resources to where they will have the most impact.

The authors discovered the following generalizable lessons from their work in Camden, New Jersey:

  1. Data integration provides a new and more holistic lens through which to view and improve individuals’ lives.
  2. The individuals who have an extremely high number of contacts with both hospitals and the criminal justice system exhibit significant variation in their experiences and behaviors.
  3. Only breaking down data silos among agencies that serve vulnerable populations can we begin to address the root causes of behavior and prevent individuals from cycling through multiple systems.

Praise for Lessons from Camden, New Jersey:

  • “This paper highlights the power of cross-sector data in unveiling the medical and social challenges faced by individuals who are frequently arrested for low-level offenses and who often receive care in hospital emergency departments. Data sharing across sectors is essential to better understand the complexities of individuals with medical and social needs. While population level data enables us to identify trends and progress, we need to drill down to individual-level data and listen to and amplify the personal stories of the people represented by the data. From there we can work across sectors to co-design targeted interventions so communities can address challenges they face." -Victor Murray, Director, Population Health Initiatives, Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers
     
  • "The significant relationship between frequent use of emergency rooms and contact with police reminds us how deeply linked the healthcare, social service, and criminal justice sectors are. To make progress along any of these silos requires creative, data-driven thinking that brings together learnings from each and sparks cross-sector conversation. This is another example of how integrating data from previously isolated fields offers new opportunities to expand our understanding of society’s most vulnerable citizens and of how to better meet their needs." -Mark Humowiecki, General Counsel & Senior Director for National Initiatives, Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers

Anne Milgram is a Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at New York University Law School; Jeffrey Brenner is the founder of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers and served as Executive Director until 2017; Dawn Wiest is the Director of Action Research & Evaluation at the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers; Virginia Bersch is the Criminal Justice Deputy Director of National Implementation at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation; and Aaron Truchil is the Director of Strategy and Analytics at the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers.

The Executive Session on Community Corrections is a project of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ), the Malcolm Wiener Center, and the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management (PCJ) at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS).

Findings and conclusions in these publications are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the US Department of Justice.

 

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