Criminal Justice, Coercive Mobility, and Race Disparities in HIV/AIDS
This lecture presented a conceptual framework, social disorganization and coercive mobility theory and HIV related sexual risk, in understanding the association of incarceration with HIV related risk. Findings from a cross-sectional survey of probationers and parolees in New Haven were discussed in this lecture. On the whole, this is a population with low rates of marriage. Incarceration may contribute to relationship instability (associated w/ breakup of committed relationships). Overall, condom use rates are low in this population. Non-condom use may be a sign of a stable relationship or a viewed as a path to a stable relationship, a response to involvement in the criminal justice system that undermines relationships (lower concurrency might also be indicative of this). There are substantial and persistent (growing) race disparities in HIV/AIDS risk. (Repeated) interactions with the criminal justice system contribute to the HIV risk of residents in urban communities by, among other things, undermining family and social networks, and exacerbating social and economic vulnerability. To the extent that African Americans are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system, they may disproportionately experience these effects, which in turn, may contribute to race disparities in HIV/AIDS. These effects may be particularly pronounced for women, both those who are incarcerated and those who are the partners of incarcerated men and may not themselves be drug users or involved with the criminal justice system.
Kim M. Blankenship, PhD, is Professor and Chair in the Department of Sociology and Director of the Center on Health, Risk and Society at American University. She previously served on the faculty of Sociology at Duke University and at the Duke Global Health Institute (2008-2010) and on the faculty at Yale University, where she was also Associate Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (1998-2008). Her research and publications focus on race, class, and gender analyses of health, with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS. She has received funding from NIDA, NIMH, CDC, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). Current research includes a mixed methods study of the implementation and impact of community mobilization interventions for HIV prevention in female sex workers in India (BMGF); and a mixed methods, longitudinal study of the impact of criminal justice involvement on HIV related risk of re-entrants and their sexual partners (NIDA).