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Am J Public Health. 2009 Mar;99(3):397-402. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.139808. Epub 2009 Jan 15.

"Epidemiological criminology": coming full circle.

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  • 1Office of Research, School of Community Health and Policy, Morgan State University, 1130 E Cold Springs Lane, Portage Building, Baltimore, MD 21239, USA.


Members of the public health and criminal justice disciplines often work with marginalized populations: people at high risk of drug use, health problems, incarceration, and other difficulties. As these fields increasingly overlap, distinctions between them are blurred, as numerous research reports and funding trends document. However, explicit theoretical and methodological linkages between the 2 disciplines remain rare. A new paradigm that links methods and statistical models of public health with those of their criminal justice counterparts is needed, as are increased linkages between epidemiological analogies, theories, and models and the corresponding tools of criminology. We outline disciplinary commonalities and distinctions, present policy examples that integrate similarities, and propose "epidemiological criminology" as a bridging framework.

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