Review of Health Impact Assessments in the Criminal Justice System, 2001-2016
Hom, Eva I.
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Purpose: This study is a systematic review of the current and potential role of a public health tool or process called a health impact assessment (HIA) within the criminal justice system. The review examines health impacts, explores the range of criminal justice policies, programs, and projects that have been evaluated by HIAs, and identifies strengths, challenges, and opportunities for the utilization of HIAs in the criminal justice system. Methods: The sample selection was conducted in two phases, employing HIA clearinghouses and online databases. The search yielded 20 HIA reports for inclusion. The review analyzed key characteristics of the HIAs including setting, topic, stakeholder engagement levels, funding sources, methods, and recommendations. Results: The review found that high stakeholder engagement, adequate time and staff capacities, and community leadership in the HIAs were highly influential on decisions made. Three case studies selected for success highlighted the impacts and application of HIAs conducted on criminal justice issues. Conclusion: Health impact assessments show potential as influential tools to guide and inform decisions around criminal justice policies and programs that will shift the system from a punitive paradigm toward a rehabilitative model that ensures equity, and optimize health outcomes for communities, and ultimately society.
- Health services