Objectives. To quantify variation in the restrictiveness of local public housing authority policies related to the admission and eviction of people with criminal justice histories. Methods. We conducted content analysis of housing authority policy documents for US cities with a population of 100 000 or more (n = 152). Factor analysis identified policy provisions to create a restrictiveness score (range = 0-8). We explored associations between restrictiveness scores and city-level measures of racial/ethnic diversity, racial/ethnic neighborhood segregation, ideology, and public housing scarcity. Results. Eight policy provisions, 6 relating to consideration of mitigating circumstances, explained 71.0% of the variance in housing authority policy provisions related to criminal justice histories. We observed small but significant positive associations between restrictiveness scores and racial/ethnic diversity (r = 0.22) and neighborhood segregation (r = 0.18). There was no correlation between restrictiveness scores of housing authorities within the same state (intraclass correlation = 0.0002). Conclusions. Housing authority policies vary substantially regarding the circumstances under which people with criminal justice histories can obtain and retain public housing. Exposure to constellations of policy provisions that might institutionalize health inequities and increase health risk among people with criminal justice histories can be quantified through a systematic process. (Am J Public Health. 2020;110:S137-S144. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2019.305437).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health