Unprecedented growth in the number of criminal justice-involved older adults (coming into contact with police, under arrest, in court, in prisons or jails, on probation or parole) has occurred over the last 3 decades. Many experience high rates of early onset disease and disability, and behavioral or social risk factors for poor health and health outcomes. Yet, this population remains profoundly understudied.
We believe that addressing the profound knowledge gaps about this population requires a nationwide research infrastructure because the growing number of researchers who study aging/serious illness and criminal justice involvement represent a range of academic disciplines (e.g., medicine, public health, nursing, social welfare, epidemiology) spread throughout the nation with few centered at any one institution. As a result, vital interdisciplinary research collaborations are limited, and junior researchers often lack the mentorship needed to pursue a successful research career in this area.
The goal of the ARCH Network is to bring national researchers dedicated to studying the experiences of criminal justice-involved older adults and the drivers of later life health disparities in this population together in a community of collaboration and support. We aim to support new and established scientists in the development and implementation of research through a national mentorship program for junior investigators, directly funding pilot and exploratory research, and creating opportunities for new multidisciplinary research collaborations.