Mental Health Consequences of Sexual Misconduct by Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Personnel among Black Drug-Involved Women in Community Corrections

  • Kristi Lynn StringerEmail author
  • Phillip Marotta
  • Dawn Goddard-Eckrich
  • Jasmine Akuffo
  • Ariel M Richer
  • Nabila El-Bassel
  • Louisa Gilbert


This study examines the prevalence, correlates, and mental health consequences of sexual misconduct by law enforcement and criminal justice (LECJ) personnel. Baseline data for Project E-WORTH (Empowering African-American Women on the Road to Health) were collected between November 2015 and May 2018 from 351 drug-involved Black women from community corrections in New York City. LECJ sexual misconduct was self-reported and we measured mental health outcomes with the CESD-4 and the PTSD Checklist. Univariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed. Approximately 14% of our sample had experienced LECJ sexual misconduct. Participants who reported multiple arrests, recent drug use, and having experienced childhood sexual victimization were more likely to have experienced LECJ sexual misconduct. Further, LECJ sexual misconduct was positively associated with depression and PTSD. These findings suggest that LECJ sexual misconduct is a previously unreported risk factor for adverse mental health outcomes among criminal-legal system-involved women. There is a need for recognition of LECJ sexual victimization among criminal-legal system-involved women. As such, prevention, treatment, and community corrections service delivery for this population should be trauma informed.


Mental health Depression Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Criminal justice Community corrections Women 



This analysis was supported by Awards :

5T32DA037801:Training Program On HIV And Substance Use In The Criminal Justice System

5R01DA038122: A Multimedia HIV/STI Intervention For Black Drug-Involved Women On Probation

F31DA044794 The Impact Of Criminal Justice Involvement On Retention In A Behavioral HIV Prevention

Intervention For Couples Who Use Drugs In Almaty, Kazakhstan

R25DA037190 Lifespan/Brown Criminal Justice Research Program on Substance Use and HIV

All of the above are from the National Institute of Drug Abuse. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Mental Health or the National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Columbia UniversityNew York CityUSA

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