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  • Author
    Desiree Acosta
  • PI

    Elizabeth S. Barnert, MD, MPH, MS

  • Co-Author

    Desiree R. Acosta, BS, Taylor Reed, BA, Laura Abrams, PHD, MSW, Christopher Bondoc, BA, Mary Murillo, BS

  • Title

    Impact of COVID-19 on Transition Age Youth during Community Reentry after Incarceration

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  • Other Program (if not listed above)

  • Abstract

    Transition age youth (TAY) who are undergoing community reentry after incarceration are a vulnerable group who may experience heightened health stressors and challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. We sought to understand the impact of COVID-19 on TAY who are reentering the community from Los Angeles County detention facilities (i.e., jail or juvenile correctional facilities). Participants included 16 TAY ages 18-25 years who were reentering the community from Los Angeles County detention facilities. Participants completed semi-structured interviews from June 2020 through May 2021 (66 interviews total). We performed thematic analysis to identify themes about experiences with COVID-19 during reentry. Overall, COVID-19 had negative and positive impacts on the TAY during reentry. While COVID-19 hindered TAY from accomplishing their goals, TAY experienced fewer temptations due to social distancing and stay-at-home orders. Additionally, although COVID-19 has been at the forefront of global society, the TAY participants undergoing reentry were more focused on meeting basic needs and addressing reentry challenges (e.g., housing, employment, and court requirements) than on the pandemic. In summary, COVID-19 presented an opportunity to improve well-being and also created health challenges. The relative under-emphasis of COVID-19 related distress in the face of a deadly pandemic suggests the intensity of the many challenges that TAY encounter during the arduous reentry period.  

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