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The Link Between Traumatic Brain Injury and Incarceration

Traumatic brain injury has become a significant public health issue as the effects of it have become more widely recognized. TBIs can cause not just cognitive impairment but behavioral changes such as increased impulsivity and aggression.

It’s not surprising, then, that researchers have studied the connection between TBI and incarceration. One of the most recent and largest studies, conducted by Canadian researchers, looked at 1.4 million young adults between 1997 and 2011.

Researchers found that those who had suffered a TBI at some point in their lives (approximately 5 percent) were 2.5 times more likely to end up behind bars. Those with multiple TBIs had an even greater chance of becoming incarcerated.

The authors of the study described their findings as “contribut[ing] to emerging research suggesting that TBI is an important risk factor for criminal justice involvement….” They recommended, “Future research should focus on primary, secondary and tertiary prevention, which may help to reduce incarceration or improve the outcomes of persons with TBI who are incarcerated.” They also suggested looking at how the severity of the injury and the way it was suffered impact incarceration rates.

Too often, even today where doctors are more aware of the impacts of TBIs, they go undiagnosed. Even when they’re properly diagnosed, victims and their families don’t always associate cognitive and behavior changes with the injury. That’s why it’s essential to get early treatment from professionals who can properly treat the injury and work to minimize both its short- and long-term impacts. If your injury was the fault of a person or entity, seeking compensation through civil litigation can help you pay for the care you need.

Source: Mad in America, “Traumatic Brain Injury Associated with Incarceration,” Shannon Peters, accessed Feb. 06, 2017
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