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A new University of Cincinnati study traces the impact of mass incarceration on young people and families


Mass incarceration has become a focal point in the United States, which has more prisoners per capita than any other country. What isn't talked about as often is the impact incarceration has on the families and children of inmates.

That's especially important in Ohio, which a 2016 study found is fourth among states when it comes to the number of children who have at least one incarcerated parent. That can have big affects on the mental and physical health of the children and families of those who are behind bars.

University of Cincinnati College of Nursing Assistant Professor Dr. Samantha Boch researched those impacts and discovered big correlations between having an incarcerated parent and mental and physical health problems.

Boch came to this focal point after working as a nurse in Ohio's carceral system.

"While working in prison, I realized the incredible overlap of health and justice systems,” Boch said in a news release. “Compared to other countries, the U.S. spends the most on health and corrections, yet we have the poorest health outcomes and incarcerate the most people per capita. We have two massively complex systems, and I don’t think either are doing a great job right now — especially for children of parents [in the justice system].”

Boch joins Cincinnati Edition to talk about her research. Also joining the program to discuss incarceration's impact on families are Franklin County Office of Justice Policy & Programs Reentry Support Specialist Dr. Patrice Palmer; and Franklin County Reentry Support Coordinator Johnny Turner, both of whom have experienced Ohio's carceral system firsthand.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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