“As social workers, we must advocate for ethical and supportive social policies for persons with criminal legal involvement. My research focuses on the intersection of the criminal legal system and mental health as part of an overall mission to reduce mass incarceration and improve well-being.”
Criminal legal system; mental illness and recovery; community supervision; juvenile justice; desistance from crime (the process of criminality declining over one’s lifetime)
Through his research, Dr. Michael Applegarth aims to increase our understanding of how mental illness and criminal legal involvement are connected for both juveniles and adults. His research aims to increase knowledge and inform policy surrounding strategies to prevent criminal legal involvement, providing treatment for those incarcerated and increasing the effectiveness of reentry services.
His dissertation focused on better understanding the connection between mental illness and recidivism for individuals on parole. Other research streams have examined how mental health and the juvenile justice system intersect around issues of family reintegration and the health needs of detained youth. Applegarth previously held research fellowships with both the National Institute of Justice and Rand Corp., in which he studied and co-authored reports on recidivism, and the effectiveness of various support programs in reducing crime among at-risk and justice-involved youth.
In the classroom, Applegarth has taught courses in social policy, mass incarceration, human behavior in the social environment, and research methods and statistics.