255696 Health, Poverty, Incarceration and Social justice in the United States: A critical review of evidence of close links with neoliberalism

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 2:30 PM - 2:50 PM

Stephen Nkansah-Amankra, PhD, MPH, MA , School of Health Sciences, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI
Samuel Kwame Agbanu, PhD, MPhil , Somerset Christian College, Department of Organizational Leadership, Newark, NJ
Problems of poverty, poor health and incarceration have unique characteristics in that these occur predominantly among the minority or marginalized population groups in the United States. Neoliberalism has become an enduring doctrine in political and economic discourse and widely used to assess the extent to which government programs incorporates pro-poor interventions to reduce inequalities. Whereas inequalities in health outcomes, poverty and incarceration are associated with individual risks, contextual links with neoliberal doctrine is given less attention in public health and social development discourse. Importantly, the interrelationships among these are not clear in the extant literature. The authors describe adverse social and health outcomes linked to neoliberal regimes in the United States and argues that such regimes have indirectly contributed to worsening health, poverty and incarceration among minority populations in the United States. Three key indicators-poverty, health disparities and incarceration are thoroughly discussed to provide new perspectives of their linkages for future research. The authors further argue that only governments with social democratic agenda can efficiently provide public goods that benefits large majority of the population. Such actions, it is argued are the most efficient ways of reducing poverty, its consequences and likely improving the general wellbeing of the population. The authors conclude that neoliberal programs have unintended consequences of exacerbating existing disparities in health, incarceration, poverty and social cohesion in the United States.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
1. To Assess neoliberalism as a political doctrine and a policy direction in determining poor health, increased incarceration and poverty among minority or disadvantaged populations in the United States. 2. To Examine evidence suggesting preponderance of poor health outcomes, increased incarceration and poverty in the era of neoliberal regimes in the United States. 3. Discuss close interrelationships among poverty, increased incarceration and poor health outcomes using a framework of neoliberal doctrine of individualism vs. collective responsibility.

Keywords: Jails and Prisons, Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Assistant Professor at the College of Health Sciences, and have previously taught for three years at the University level. I have presented a number of times at the APHA meetings and other International conferences.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.