Research Reports - Traumatic brain injury among newly admitted adolescents in the New York city jail system

J Adolesc Health. 2014 May;54(5):615-7

Kaba F(1), Diamond P(2), Haque A(1), MacDonald R(1), Venters H(3)

PURPOSE: Relatively little is known about the prevalence of traumatic brain
injury (TBI) among adolescents who come into contact with the criminal justice
METHODS: We undertook screening for TBI among newly admitted adolescents in the
New York City jail system using a validated TBI screening tool. A convenience
sample of 300 male and 84 female screenings was examined.
RESULTS: Screening revealed that 50% of male and 49% of female adolescents enter
jail with a history of TBI. Incidence of TBI was assessed using patient health
records, and revealed an incidence of 3,107 TBI per 100,000 person-years.
CONCLUSIONS: Elevated prevalence and incidence of TBI among incarcerated
adolescents may relate to criminal justice involvement as well as friction in
jail. Given the large representation of violence as a cause of TBI among our
patients, we have begun focus groups with them to elicit meaningful strategies
for living with and avoiding TBI.

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