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J Adolesc Health. 2014 May;54(5):615-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.12.013. Epub 2014 Feb 14.

Traumatic brain injury among newly admitted adolescents in the New York city jail system.

Author information

1
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Queens, New York.
2
Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas, Houston, Texas.
3
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Queens, New York. Electronic address: Hventer1@health.nyc.gov.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Relatively little is known about the prevalence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among adolescents who come into contact with the criminal justice system.

METHODS:

We undertook screening for TBI among newly admitted adolescents in the New York City jail system using a validated TBI screening tool. A convenience sample of 300 male and 84 female screenings was examined.

RESULTS:

Screening revealed that 50% of male and 49% of female adolescents enter jail with a history of TBI. Incidence of TBI was assessed using patient health records, and revealed an incidence of 3,107 TBI per 100,000 person-years.

CONCLUSIONS:

Elevated prevalence and incidence of TBI among incarcerated adolescents may relate to criminal justice involvement as well as friction in jail. Given the large representation of violence as a cause of TBI among our patients, we have begun focus groups with them to elicit meaningful strategies for living with and avoiding TBI.

KEYWORDS:

Jail; Traumatic brain injury; Violence

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