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Am J Public Health. 2017 Dec;107(12):1977-1981. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.304095. Epub 2017 Oct 19.

The Cumulative Probability of Arrest by Age 28 Years in the United States by Disability Status, Race/Ethnicity, and Gender.

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Erin J. McCauley is with Policy Analysis and Management, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University, Ithaca NY.



To estimate the cumulative probability (c) of arrest by age 28 years in the United States by disability status, race/ethnicity, and gender.


I estimated cumulative probabilities through birth cohort life tables with data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997.


Estimates demonstrated that those with disabilities have a higher cumulative probability of arrest (c = 42.65) than those without (c = 29.68). The risk was disproportionately spread across races/ethnicities, with Blacks with disabilities experiencing the highest cumulative probability of arrest (c = 55.17) and Whites without disabilities experiencing the lowest (c = 27.55). Racial/ethnic differences existed by gender as well. There was a similar distribution of disability types across race/ethnicity, suggesting that the racial/ethnic differences in arrest may stem from racial/ethnic inequalities as opposed to differential distribution of disability types.


The experience of arrest for those with disabilities was higher than expected. Police officers should understand how disabilities may affect compliance and other behaviors, and likewise how implicit bias and structural racism may affect reactions and actions of officers and the systems they work within in ways that create inequities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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