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CPR-CAPS Joint Seminar: Atheendar Venkataramani

Eggers Hall, 060

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Atheendar Venkataramani (University of Pennsylvania) will present "State Sentencing Policies and Racial Disparities in Birth Outcomes," as part of the joint Center for Policy Research (CPR) and Center for Aging and Policy Studies (CAPS) seminar.

Abstract: U.S. states adopted a number of tough on crime policies in the early 1990s, including truth-in-sentencing and three strikes policies. While the impacts of these policies on crime and incarceration have been previously studied, less is known about their impacts on health outcomes. These policies may influence health through myriad ways, including through changes in community incarceration rates and crime rates or stigmatizion. In this study, we use detailed birth certificate data along with quasi-experimental research methods to examine the impacts of state truth-in-sentencing and three strikes policies on birth outcomes by race. We find evidence of positive impacts of truth-in-sentencing policies on gestational age among White and Black infants born to mothers with college or higher education, with results for Black infants being less precise. For three strikes, we find evidence of negative impacts on birth weight for Black infants born to mothers with less than a college education. The findings highlight the heterogeneous nature of tough-on-crime policies and the varied mechanisms by which they might pattern health and racial health disparities.

This will be a hybrid event. For more information, please contact Alyssa Kirk or Karen Tavernese.


Social Science and Public Policy


Lectures and Seminars


Hybrid Campus and Virtual

Open to


Students, Graduate and Professional


MAX-Center for Policy Research, MAX-Aging Studies Institute


Alyssa Kirk



Contact Alyssa Kirk to request additional accommodations

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To mark our centennial in the fall of 2024, the Maxwell School will hold special events and engagement opportunities to celebrate the many ways—across disciplines and borders—our community ever strives to, as the Oath says, “transmit this city not only not less, but greater, better and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”

Throughout the year leading up to the centennial, engagement opportunities will be held for our diverse, highly accomplished community that now boasts more than 38,500 alumni across the globe.