Structures, Health and Risk among Re-Entrants, Probationers, Partners


Structures, Health and Risk among Re-Entrants, Probationers and Partners (SHARRPP) is a five-year (2010-2014) project funded by the National Institutes of Health (R01DA025021) examining drug policies as they impact on movement between the criminal justice system and the community. In turn, it explores how the incarceration-re-entry cycle produces instability in housing, employment, and relationships with impacts on sexual risks and race inequities in these risks.

What was the research approach?

SHARRPP surveys and interviews began the summer of 2011 and ended in the late fall of 2014. Surveys were conducted at baseline and every six months for the next two years with 302 people in New Haven, CT recently released from prison/jail or placed on probation for non-violent drug-related offenses. Of these, 45 participants also participated in a series of semi-structured, in-depth interviews over the same time. Participants were asked to refer their sexual partners to the study. From these referrals, 62 longitudinal surveys were administered and 27 semi-structured interviews were conducted with sexual partners.

SHARRPP was a collaborative partnership between American University and Yale University. This research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01DA025021). It was also supported by the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at Yale University (0904005012), the Center on Health, Risk, and Society at American University, and the DC Center for AIDS Research (P30AI17970).

Keene, D. E., Smoyer, A. B., & Blankenship, K. M. (2018). Stigma, Housing and Identity after Prison. Sociological Review, 66(4), 799-815.

Keene, D. E., Rosenberg, A., Schlesinger, P., Guo, M., & Blankenship, K. M. (2018). Navigating Limited and Uncertain Access to Subsidized Housing after Prison. Housing Policy Debate, 28(2), 199-214.

Rosenberg, A., Heimer, R., Keene, D. E., Groves, A. K., & Blankenship, K. M. (2018). Drug Treatment Accessed through the Criminal Justice System: Participants’ Perspectives and Uses. Journal of Urban Health, 1-10.

Blankenship, K. M., del Rio Gonzalez, A. M., Keene, D. E., Groves, A. K., & Rosenberg, A. P. (2018). Mass Incarceration, Race Inequality, and Health: Expanding Concepts and Assessing Impacts on Well-Being. Social Science & Medicine215, 45-52.

Groves, A. K., Zhan, W., del Río-González, A. M., Rosenberg, A., & Blankenship, K. M. (2017). Dual Incarceration and Condom Use in Committed Relationships. AIDS and Behavior, 21(12), 3549-3556.

Rosenberg, A., Groves, A. K., & Blankenship, K. M. (2017). Comparing Black and White Drug Offenders: Implications for Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice and Reentry Policy and Programming. Journal of Drug Issues, 47(1), 132-142.

Smoyer, A. B., Kershaw, T. S., Blankenship, K. M. (2015). Confining Legitimacy: The Impact of Prison Experiences on Perceptions of Criminal Justice Legitimacy. Journal of Forensic Social Work, 5(1-3): 258-270.

Smoyer, A. B., Rosenberg, A., & Blankenship, K. M. (2014). Setting the Stage: Creating Study Sites That Promote the Safety and Dignity of Research Participants. Social Work Research, 38(3), 178-183.

Blankenship, K. M. (2014). 30 Years After Discovery of HIV Virus: The Vital Role of the Social Sciences. Huffington Post.

Blankenship, K. M. & Smoyer, A. B. (2013). Between Spaces: Understanding Movement To and From Prison as an HIV Risk Factor. In B. Sanders, Y. F. Thomas & B. G. Deeds (Eds.), Crime, HIV & Health:  Intersections of Criminal Justice and Public Health Concerns (pp. 207-224). New York: Springer.

Smoyer, A. B., Blankenship, K. M., & Belt, B. (2009). Compensation for Incarcerated Research Participants: Diverse State Policies Suggest a New Research Agenda. American Journal of Public Health99(10), 1746-1752.

An active Community Advisory Board of community members and program administrators provided guidance in developing the research instruments and reporting on this research.

Participant Poems

Below are original poems from two SHARRPP participants that reflect their experiences of incarceration and re-entry.

by Q. Abdul-Wakil

I wish I could save the world like so many others
Except my plan isn’t to “feed the children”
I want to educate my young brothers.
The more things change the more they remain the same.
Im talking about the hustling them streets and playin’ that game.
If it’s a game we are playing, why can’t we win?
The answer is kinda tricky
I don’t know where to begin
Ok no one in my hood owns a boat or plane
Yet on every other corner someone peddles cocaine
Or some other chemical that pollutes the brain.
On another corner a young lady sells herself
For a little drugs or a little wealth.
This ain’t no game
And this ain’t fun
If it was, why do all the young boys in da hood
Have access to a gun?
I wish I could make a bomb and pack it with college
and when it blew up it gave everyone knowledge.
I'm not talking of a school made of steel and rocks
I'm talking about about an education
from the school of hard knocks.
We need hard lessons
Because collectively we have a hard head
Everyone that plays this game
Is either in jail, or dead.
So when you ask me about the game
I gotta tell you the deal
This ain't no game,
This is real!

by D. R. Hill

I’ve seen grown men cried
I’ve Cried!!
And I’ve seen grown men pray

In God we believe in
The Pain has Led us Astray
We know that Jesus is there and he always cares

But Our Hearts is Full of Burdens
Our Eyes Full of Tears
Hoping Someone Notice—But it Seems no one is aware

The pain that we feel inside
All they do is stare
Out soul full of bitterness

Our minds full of rage
Trap in this prison system
Lock like a dog on a cage

Time is passing us by
Missing the ones we love the most
All we know is the struggle
Raised in the streets, selling coke!!
Masters of our addictions—needles filled with dope!!
Our young generations-are zombies
More like eternal ghost
Secrets and worries are buried in cemeteries

It’s a dark place called Hell
So they rush there in a hurry

Prostitutes on the corners
Tricking for the next fix
They souls are so black
Addiction is something
They can’t kick

Knowing Death is on its Way
But still
They won’t quit

Kids are being born
Caught up in the mix

Gang-banging-Drug Slanging
Gun slanger
To the end
With A Ignorant Mind
Their Vision is Real Dim

The world is a dark place
And genocide
Seems to Always Win
Relevation is Relevant
1 Day
We Will Make Mends

Bird sitting on a fence

Stigma, Housing and Identity after Prison

Danya E. Keene, Amy B. Smoyer, Kim M. Blankenship

Read the Publication

The word SHARRP busting through jail cell bars

The drawing displayed on this page was contributed by a participant.


Research Team

Kim Blankenship

PhD, MA, Principal Investigator

Kim is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and the Associate Dean of Research in American University’s College of Arts and Sciences. Her research focuses on the social determinants of health and structural interventions to address them. More specifically, she has focused on race, class and gender inequality as they intersect with processes of community disruption in analyzing HIV related inequities and their implications for prevention interventions.

Ana Maria Del Rio Gonzalez

Data Manager
Ana is an Assistant Research Professor at George Washington University’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences in the Department of Psychology. Before she joined the Department, she was a Data Manager on the SHARRPP study. Her research interests and experience focus on psychosocial factors associated with the adoption of healthy and risky behaviors, and the design, implementation, and evaluation of effective interventions to promote health and well-being and to decrease health disparities.

Ali Groves

PhD, MHS, Co-Investigator
Ali is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health and Prevention at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health. She is committed to promoting social justice and decreasing gender inequalities in health through multilevel interventions. She has engaged in intervention development and research across a diverse array of settings. Her work focuses on the social and structural factors that perpetuate poor sexual and reproductive health across the globe.

Robert Heimer

Co-Investigator and Principal Investigator on the Yale subaward
Robert is the Director of the Emerging Infections Program and Professor of Epidemiology and Pharmacology at Yale University’s School of Public Health. His major research efforts include scientific investigation of the mortality and morbidity associated with injection drug use. Specific areas of investigation include syringe exchange programs, virus survival in syringes, hepatitis B vaccination, hepatitis C transmission risks, overdose prevention and resuscitation, and pharmacological treatment of opiate addiction.

Alana Rosenberg

MPH, Project Manager
Alana is Project Manager of JustHouHS and previously of the Structures, Health, and Risk Among Reentrants, Probationers & Partners (SHARRPP) project. She has managed several mixed methods research studies and is particularly interested in qualitative and participatory research methods aimed at better understanding structural barriers to health.

Penelope Schlesinger

Research Assistant
Penelope is a Research Assistant with JustHouHS and worked with the team in a similar capacity with SHARRPP. Prior to her work in research, she worked in inpatient and outpatient mental health facilities and for community non-profit agencies. She is interested in the promotion of social justice.

Amy Smoyer

Amy is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Southern Connecticut State University’s School of Health and Human Services. Her research examines the structural determinants of health and health disparities. Her current work focuses on the experiences of incarceration and reentry and the implications of these experiences on health outcomes, with attention to women’s health, food-related wellness, and HIV care and prevention.