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Social Science and Public Policy

CPR-CAPS Joint Seminar: Atheendar Venkataramani

January 27, 2023 at 12:00pm1:00pm

Eggers Hall, 060 and Virtual (See event details)

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Atheendar Venkataramani (University of Pennsylvania) will present “State Sentencing Policies and Racial Disparities in Birth Outcomes,” as part of the joint Center for Policy Research (CPR) and Center for Aging and Policy Studies (CAPS) seminar.

Abstract: U.S. states adopted a number of tough on crime policies in the early 1990s, including truth-in-sentencing and three strikes policies. While the impacts of these policies on crime and incarceration have been previously studied, less is known about their impacts on health outcomes. These policies may influence health through myriad ways, including through changes in community incarceration rates and crime rates or stigmatizion. In this study, we use detailed birth certificate data along with quasi-experimental research methods to examine the impacts of state truth-in-sentencing and three strikes policies on birth outcomes by race. We find evidence of positive impacts of truth-in-sentencing policies on gestational age among White and Black infants born to mothers with college or higher education, with results for Black infants being less precise. For three strikes, we find evidence of negative impacts on birth weight for Black infants born to mothers with less than a college education. The findings highlight the heterogeneous nature of tough-on-crime policies and the varied mechanisms by which they might pattern health and racial health disparities.

This will be a hybrid event. For more information, please contact Alyssa Kirk or Karen Tavernese.

This event was first published on December 14, 2022 and last updated on January 19, 2023.

Event Details