My two programs of research concern the collateral consequences of mass incarceration for public health, and the effects of the social division and structure of labor on mental illness. Two questions have motivated my work to date: First, what are the theoretical and methodological assumptions underlying the growing use of contested psychiatric categories, such as antisocial personality, to explain and assess the risk of exposure to the criminal justice system, particularly in the context of mass incarceration? Second, what can we learn about the distribution and determinants of mental illness by examining social class as a dynamic relational process, rather than an individual attribute? I am also working on a project to study the role of adolescent substance use as determinant and consequence of the school-to- prison pipeline, disentangling individual risk, social determinants, and group disparities. I explore these questions at the intersections of epidemiology, sociology, and criminology, combining theory-driven analysis with advanced quantitative methods. I am a social and psychiatric epidemiologist interested in pushing the boundaries of the discipline to encompass rich social theory.
Co-Convener, Cross-Cutting Theme, Columbia Population Research Center
Areas of Expertise
Disparities / Inequalities in Health, Social / Cultural Issues, Social Epidemiology, Social Factors in Health, Underserved Populations, Workplace Health, Incarceration and Recidivism, Mental Health, Addiction/Drug Abuse
Kajeepeta, S., Mauro, P.M., Keyes, K.M., El Sayed, A.M., Rutherford, C.G., Prins, S.J. (2021). Association between county jail incarceration and cause-specific county mortality in the USA, 1987–2017: a retrospective, longitudinal study. Lancet Public Health.
Prins, Seth J, Sarah McKetta, Jonathan Platt, Carles Muntaner, Katherine M Keyes, and Lisa M Bates. “‘The Serpent of Their Agonies’: Exploitation As Structural Determinant of Mental Illness.” Epidemiology, Volume Published ahead of Print (2020).
The Disciplining Effect of Mass Incarceration on Labor Organization. Reich, A. D. and Prins, S. J. American Journal of Sociology, 125(5). 2020
Connecting the Dots Between Mass Incarceration, Health Inequity, and Climate Change. Prins, S. J.; and Story, B. American Journal of Public Health, 110(S1): S35–S36. 2020.
County Jail Incarceration Rates and County Mortality Rates in the United States, 1987–2016. Kajeepeta, S.; Rutherford, C. G.; Keyes, K. M.; El-Sayed, A. M.; and Prins, S. J. American Journal of Public Health, 110(S1): S109–S115. 2020.