Data Analysis For Humane Incarceration
This paper outlines my analysis of health and mortality in Pennsylvania jails using publicly available datasets from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, US Census, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I explored jail data from the Pennsylvania DOC, showing a chronic overcrowding problem in several jails and highlighting concerns about data on mental health hospitalizations, population flow, and sentencing status. My primary focus was mortality; this research revealed that suicides are an enormous health problem in jails. Nearly forty percent of deaths in Pennsylvania jail from 2015 to 2018 were suicides. A novel analysis suggests that the jail suicide rate is more than twice that of similar people in the resident Pennsylvania population. Further, I cleaned, standardized and combined several datasets, so that my colleagues at CHRS can continue further investigations on this topic.