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Addressing the role of trauma in the lives of men who commit violent crimes

Among the people currently incarcerated for committing violent offenses are many who have endured high levels of childhood trauma.

Adversity takes many forms: childhood neglect, physical assault, and sexual abuse; heightened exposure to domestic, neighborhood, and physical violence; and structural racism. These traumatic experiences compound to adversely impact men in our society, especially men of color. When left unaddressed, these experiences can have a long term negative impact on men’s mental and physical health, and increase their risk for exhibiting violent and aggressive behavior later in life.

The Research & Action Center at Impact Justice aims to undertake a groundbreaking re-examination of the lived experience of men incarcerated for violent offenses. Through a multi-site research project, the RAC will explore and document the prevalence of childhood trauma among violent offenders.

We must address trauma as part of a larger strategy to reduce the number of people incarcerated in the United States and ensure access to trauma-informed services for those in need. The RAC’s research will introduce the field of justice reform to a new narrative — one that intentionally includes men and trauma and adds new and important dimensions to how society views incarcerated men.