The Health Criminology Research Consortium at Saint Louis University is an interdisciplinary
collaboration of researchers investigating the nexus of health, crime and the criminal
justice system, and how to improve effectiveness in the areas of prevention, clinical
intervention and policy.
“The health criminology knowledge terrain is rich and inherently transdisciplinary,
spawning exciting research questions and approaches that can hopefully improve our
understanding of the causes, correlates and distribution of outcomes as well as the
effectiveness of prevention, clinical intervention and policy at the intersection
of health and criminal justice.”- Michael Vaughn, founder and director (back row,
What the Consortium Does
Dedicated to scientifically rigorous research, transdisciplinary inquiry, and dissemination
of findings, the consortium brings together experts from diverse fields within SLU,
partnerships with the community, and researchers from other universities.
The result is a social network that can leverage substantial intellectual and social
capital focused on increased theoretical and empirical understanding and enhancing
health and well-being among populations that are not only already involved with the
criminal justice system but persons at elevated risk for problem behaviors early in
the life course and at later contact or re-arrest.
Currently, a host of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers from criminology
and criminal justice, social work, medicine, psychiatry, and other health science
disciplines engage with marginalized populations who are at elevated risk of drug
use, violence, health and mental health problems directly related to public safety
and well-being over the life course.
These life-course risks often lead to early aggression and conduct problems and short-term
(e.g., truancy, detention, jail) and long-term (e.g., prison, parole) contact with
the criminal justice system. Given the covariation in the etiology of criminogenic
and poor health risk, as these fields increasingly overlap, the distinctions between
them are blurred. The long-term human and economic costs of antisocial behaviors over
the life course are vast. Moreover, the United States’ correctional system rivals
many nation’s health care systems in scope and exceeds them in other areas, such as
mental health needs.
Our mission is to improve our understanding of the causes, correlates, and distribution
of outcomes as well as the effectiveness of prevention, clinical intervention, and
policy at the intersection of health, crime, and the criminal justice system.
How Do We Do This Work?
Currently, with about 20 faculty across Saint Louis University and 20 external partners
at universities across the nation, the Health Criminology Research Consortium is comprised
of two research clusters and a health criminology evidence synthesis initiative.
Sound decision making at the interface of health and criminal justice depends on uncovering
the population-level distribution, correlates, etiology, and life course of criminogenic
phenomenon (including violence and victimization), and health of criminal justice-involved
populations. Cluster one research represents “front end” studies that can not only
inform policy but also help refine “back end” programming and intervention field research
found in cluster two.
Criminal justice populations, both juvenile and adult, represent marginalized groups
with extensive health needs including chronic disease (particularly with an aging
correctional population), HIV infection, reproductive health, notable mental health
and substance use disorders, and employment rehabilitation needs.
The heart of the clusters’ activities will be focused on local programming and evaluations
(clinical and policy) of health promotion clinical intervention research, extant system
programming, systems analyses, and related health disparities driven research.
Meet the Health Criminology Researchers
We are actively seeking collaborations with other university and community partners.
Find more information below about the researchers involved.