Chris Uggen Ph.D.

McKnight Distinguished Professor and Chair
Department of Sociology
University of Minnesota
Email: Discipline: Sociology

Investigator Award
The Effects of Incarceration on the Health of Individuals, Families, and Communities
Award Year: 2009 State and federal correctional facilities in the United States house over 2 million people, more than all other nations, and release nearly 650,000 inmates each year. What effect does incarceration have on the health and health care of current and former inmates, and what role does it play in health disparities, since black Americans are incarcerated at much higher rates than whites? Jason Schnittker, Ph.D., and Christopher Uggen, Ph.D., will study this exceedingly important but neglected issue, especially with respect to the health of people after they are released. In their project, The Effects of Incarceration on the Health of Individuals, Families, and Communities, Drs. Schnittker and Uggen will explore the impacts of incarceration on mental and physical health, on families and children, and on health and health care quality at local and state levels. Using an assortment of datasets, they will take a close look at risk factors such as unemployment, marital instability, stigma, chronic stress, discrimination, neighborhood segregation, and access to health care. In the end, they will outline the health policy implications of incarceration, with the goal of informing debates on criminal justice reform and on strategies for improving the health of current and former inmates and their families.


Chris Uggen (pronounced You-Gun) is Distinguished McKnight Professor and chair of sociology at the University of Minnesota. His focus is crime, law, and deviance, believing that good science lights the way to a more just and safer world. His writing appears in American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Criminology, and Law & Society Review and in media such as the New York Times, The Economist, and NPR. With Jeff Manza, he wrote Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy (Oxford, 2006). His current projects take up punishment and reentry, citizenship, substance use, employment discrimination, and health inequalities. Away from work, Chris is a father, a jogger, and a blogger.