Overview and Inventory of HHS Efforts to Assist Incarcerated and Reentering Individuals and their Families . Statewide Investigation of Traumatic Brain Injury in Prisons


Type of Activity: Research

Funding Mechanism: Cooperative Agreement

Total Available Funding: $495,000/year

Number of Awards: 1

Award Amount: $495,000

Length of Project Period: 4 years; September 2007 - September 2011

Federal Partners: None

Summary: Conduct a population-based retrospective cohort study in South Carolina prisons that will 1) provide interval estimates of prevalence rates of Traumatic Brain Industry (TBI), substance abuse, and violence among representative samples of male and female prisoners; 2) quantify the association between history of TBI, substance abuse, and violence and estimate the impact of this association on community integration and recidivism, and 3) investigate the feasibility of conducting routine screening for TBI in prisons by measuring the predictive value positive (PVP) of a new TBI screening tool. This proposed study will identify 292 male prisoners and 292 female prisoners who will participate in in-person interviews shortly before prison release. After entering the community, they will be followed for approximately two years to identify risk factors for recidivism. To help ensure the prevalence estimates, a second cohort of 50 prisoners (25 males and 25 females) will be interviewed. The survey instrument will measure history of TBI, substance abuse, violence, and other potential confounders. The unifying hypothesis guiding the study is that prisoners who report a history of TBI have a higher rate of recidivism mediated by substance abuse and/or violence. This study is intended to provide a clearer understanding of the outcomes of TBI among prisoners and an accurate population-based estimate of the association between TBI, substance abuse, and violence in prisons. This information can assist in providing statewide public health services. Summary can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/profiles/acutecare/abstracts.htm#CE07-008

Background: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a significant public health problem in the US . Yet research is sorely lacking that can generate population-based estimates of TBI in prisons. TBI’s among prisoners is of particular concern because it often results in cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral problems, including aggressive behavior.

Current grantee: Medical University of South Carolina

Evaluation Activities: Overall study findings will be disseminated through reports and scientific publications to inform corrections and policymakers. A final project report is due 90 days after the project period ends.

Future Prospects: Research project scheduled to end in September 2011; no additional funding for this project is expected.


Arlene Vincent-Mark
Public Health Analyst 
Phone: (770)488-4398
Email:  avincentmark@cdc.gov

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