Neurological trauma, family history of incarceration linked in female inmates, University of Delaware study found.

The popular Netflix series “Orange is the New Black” depicts the lives of female inmates in prison, but it also shows their pre-prison lives, and in doing so exposes their humanity. New research suggests that when it comes to assessing female inmates, it’s crucial to look at what their lives were like before prison.

According to a press release issued by the University of Delaware, a new study found that female inmates who had at least one incarcerated family member during their childhood were twice as likely to suffer from neurological problems as adults than female inmates who did not.

The study was a cross-sectional review of data gathered in other research, so a clear cause and effect can’t be determined. However, researchers believe that the knowledge of the challenges children with incarcerated family members face will help policy makers and advocates find better ways to support them.

“We’re good at identifying problems,” lead researcher Kathleen Brewer-Smyth said in the press release. “But we haven’t figured out the best ways to fix them.”

Brewer-Smyth is from the University of Delaware’s College of Health Sciences. Read more.

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