CAPS/CPR Seminar: Atheendar Venkataramani

Date(s) - Jan 27, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Global Collaboratory - 060 Eggers Hall


CAPS/CPR Seminar (Hybrid)

Atheendar Venkataramani, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Medical Ethics and Health Policy
University of Pennsylvania

Title: “State Sentencing Policies and Racial Disparities in Birth Outcomes”

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 stigmatization. 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.

Zoom Link

Event Flyer