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Journal of Quantitative Criminology



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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is differentially concentrated within incarcerated populations. Despite the consistency of this observation, the timing of within-individual changes in criminal justice contact in relation to TBI remains under-investigated. For example, previous studies have primarily considered TBI as a causal influence of later criminal justice contact. However, TBI may also serve as a consequence of criminal justice contact or a criminogenic lifestyle. The current study simultaneously observes both possibilities by examining criminal justice contact before, around the time of, and after the first reported TBI.


Drawing from a combination of self-report and lifetime official record data from a jail cohort admitted between February 2017 and September 2017 and who sustained their first reported TBI at age 21 or older (N = 531), the current study examines jail admissions in the 24 months before and 24 months after the first reported TBI and across eight biannual intervals (N = 4,248 person-periods).


Any and misdemeanor admissions slightly increased pre-TBI and continued to increase around the time of and following TBI, never returning to pre-TBI levels. Felony admissions remained stable around the time of injury and increased post-TBI. Further analyses that incorporated a comparison group revealed that these patterns are unique to the TBI group and not a result of a larger systematic process.


These findings indicate that the probability of jail admission is greatest post-TBI, but also increases leading up to sustaining a TBI.


This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at:

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