Jason Schnittker Ph.D.

Department of Sociology
University of Pennsylvania
Email: jschnitt@ssc.upenn.edu 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.


Jason Schnittker is professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and a research associate of the Population Studies Center. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Indiana University and a B.A. in psychology from the University of Dayton. His long-term research interests reflect this training. In general, he is interested in the psychosocial determinants of health, with a particular focus on health disparities and person-environment interactions. In this vein, he has conducted research on the social and genetic determinants of mental health; doctor-patient interaction and treatment disparities; the subjective meaning of health and how it changes over time and with age; and the changing nature of sex differences in health over time. His work has appeared in both mainstream sociology journals, such as American Sociological Review and the American Journal of Sociology, and health policy journals, such as the Milbank Quarterly. He has also served on the editorial board of many of these journals, including the American Journal of Sociology and the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

Honor Description
Best Publication Award, Mental Health Section, American Sociological Association, 2013