Objectives To estimate the health characteristics and racial/ethnic health disparities among a probation cohort in Hennepin County. We hypothesised the probation population would have higher health needs compared with the general population as well as significant racial/ethnic health disparities. Design Cross-sectional study using linked administrative records. Participants Of 7992 eligible individuals, 5873 met inclusion criteria of 6 or more months of eligibility for a full-benefit Minnesota healthcare plan. Setting Probation system in Hennepin County in 2016. Outcomes We compared health condition prevalence among our probation cohort with survey data from the general population and analysed by race/ethnicity. We also measured sociodemographic characteristics, including the use of safety-net services. Results Individuals were predominantly male (80.5%), young (mean age: 35.5 years), and disproportionately black or African American (52.9%). A majority of individuals enrolled in Medicaid were eligible via Medicaid expansion (65.9%). Compared with the general population, individuals on probation had higher rates of substance use disorders (66.5% vs 8.1%), mental illness (55.3% vs 14.4%) and many physical conditions (eg, asthma: 17.0% vs 12.5%, chronic kidney disease: 5.8% vs 0.2%). White individuals on probation were significantly more likely than black or African American individuals to have a diagnosed substance use disorder (71.6% vs 62.0%) or mental health disorder (64.9% vs 48.5%), but fewer chronic physical health conditions (average: 0.52 vs 0.73 chronic physical conditions). Conclusions Individuals on probation have high health needs, which vary substantially by race/ethnicity. Without attention to this variation, interventions to address health conditions in this population could worsen racial/ethnic disparities.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding This project was supported with funding from the University of Minnesota’s Grand Challenges Research Initiative.
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.
- health policy
- public health
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't