Numerous studies have documented an increased risk of mortality following release from prison. However, considerable lags exist between the time that a death takes place and when cause of death information is reported in State Vital Records. Reporting delays prevent health departments from being able to proactively respond to public health emergencies as they arise. The main objective of this project is to test a novel strategy for analyzing deaths in real-time using publicly available obituary data and web scraping technology. Researchers will first scale up a web scraping tool that will link names of individuals recently released from incarceration with publicly available obituary and death information , and then validate web scraping linkage against a time period for which confirmed deaths are available, including the accuracy of determining cause of death via obituary data. The results of this project will enhance our ability to understand, in a timely way, all-cause mortality after release, including death from overdose.
PI: Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein, Rosemarie Martin, PhD
Methods/Measures, Pilot Study