This study examined whether the presence of a comorbid substance use disorder increased the risk of criminal recidivism and reincarceration in prison inmates with a severe mental illness. Our analyses of more than 61,000 Texas prison inmates showed that those with a co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorder exhibited a substantially higher risk of multiple incarcerations over a 6-year period compared to inmates with psychiatric disorders alone or substance use disorders alone. Further research is needed to identify the factors associated with criminal recidivism among released prisoners with co-occurring disorders.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Baillargeon, J., Binswanger, I. A., Penn, J. V., Williams, B. A., & Murray, O. J. (2009). Psychiatric disorders and repeat incarcerations: The revolving prison door. American Journal of Psychiatry, 166, 103–109.
Broome, K., Knight, K., Joe, G. W., & Simpson, D. D. (1996). Evaluating the drug-abusing probationer: Clinical interview versus self-administered assessment. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 23, 593–606.
Chandler, R. K., Fletcher, B. W., & Volkow, N. D. (2009). Treating drug abuse and addiction in the criminal justice system: Improving public health and safety. JAMA, 301, 183–190.
Diamond, P. M., Wang, E. W., Holzer, C. E., Thomas, C., & des Cruser, A. (2001). The prevalence of mental illness in prison. Administration and Policy In Mental Health, 29, 21–40.
Drake, R. E., Mueser, K. T., Clark, R. E., & Wallach, M. A. (1996). The course, treatment, and outcome of substance disorder in persons with severe mental illness. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 66, 42–51.
Fazel, S., Bains, P., & Doll, H. (2006). Substance abuse and dependence in prisoners: A systematic review. Addiction, 101, 181–191.
Hartwell, S. W. (2004). Comparison of offenders with mental illness only and offenders with dual diagnoses. Psychiatric Services, 55, 145–150.
Hoge, S. K. (2007). Providing transition and outpatient services to the mentally ill released from correctional institutions. In R. B. Greifinger (Ed.), Public health behind bars: From prisons to communities (pp. 461–477). New York: Springer.
Kessler, R. C., Nelson, C. B., McGonagle, K. A., Edlund, M. J., Frank, R. G., & Leaf, P. J. (1996). The epidemiology of co-occurring addictive and mental disorders: Implications for prevention and service utilization. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 66, 17–31.
Kushel, M. B., Hahn, J. A., Evans, J. L., Bangsberg, D. R., & Moss, A. R. (2005). Revolving doors: Imprisonment among the homeless. American Journal of Public Health, 95, 1747–1752.
La Vigne, N., & Parthasarathy, B. (2005). Prisoner reentry and residential mobility. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.
Lamb, H. R., Weinberger, L. E., & Gross, B. H. (2004). Mentally ill persons in the criminal justice system: Some perspectives. Psychiatric Quarterly, 75, 107–126.
Mallik-Kane, K., & Visher, C. A. (2008). Health and prisoner reentry: How physical, mental, and substance abuse conditions shape the process of reintegration. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.
McLellan, A. T., Luborsky, L., Woody, G. E., & O’Brien, C. P. (1980). An improved diagnostic evaluation instrument for substance abuse patients. The addiction severity index. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 168, 26–33.
McLellan, A. T., Luborsky, L., Cacciola, J., Griffith, J., Evans, F., Barr, H. L., et al. (1985). New data from the addiction severity index: Reliability and validity in three centers. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 173, 412–423.
McLellan, A. T., Kushner, H., Metzger, D., Peters, R., Smith, I., Grissom, G., et al. (1992). The fifth edition of the addiction severity index. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 9, 199–213.
McNiel, D. A., Binder, R. L., & Robinson, J. C. (2005). Incarceration associated with homelessness, mental disorder, and co-occurring substance abuse. Psychiatric Services, 56, 840–846.
Metraux, S., & Culhane, D. P. (2004). Homeless shelter use and reincarceration following prison release. Criminology & Public Policy, 3, 139–160.
Mueser, K. T., Drake, R. E., & Miles, K. M. (1997). The course and treatment of substance use disorder in persons with severe mental illness. In L. S. Onken, J. D. Blaine, S. Genser, & A. M. Horton (Eds.), Treatment of drug-dependent individuals with comorbid mental disorders (NIDA Research Monograph 172). Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services.
Mumola, C. J., & Karberg, J. C. (2006). Drug use and dependence, state and federal prisoners, 2004. In Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin (Publication no. NCJ 213530). Washington, DC: US Department of Justice.
National GAINS Center. (1997). The prevalence of co-occurring mental and substance abuse disorders in the criminal justice system. Delmar, NY: National GAINS Center for People with Co-Occurring Disorders in the Criminal Justice System.
Osher, F. C., & Drake, R. E. (1996). Reversing a history of unmet needs: Approaches to care for persons with co-occurring addictive and mental disorders. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 66, 4–11.
Peters, R. H., & Hills, H. A. (1993). Inmates with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders. In H. J. Steadman & J. J. Cocozza (Eds.), Mental Illness in America’s prisons (pp. 159–212). Seattle, WA: National Coalition for the Mentally Ill in the Criminal Justice System.
Peters, R. H., & Hills, H. A. (1997). Intervention strategies for offenders with co-occurring disorders: What works. Delmar, NY: National GAINS Center for People with Co-Occurring Disorders in the Criminal Justice System.
Peters, R. H., Greenbaum, P. E., Edens, J. F., Carter, C. R., & Ortiz, M. M. (1998). Prevalence of DSM-IV substance abuse and dependence disorders among prison inmates. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 24, 573–587.
Peters, R. H., Greenbaum, P. E., Steinberg, M. L., Carter, C. R., Ortiz, M. M., Fry, B. C., et al. (2000). Effectiveness of screening instruments in detecting substance use disorders among prisoners. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 18, 349–358.
Pew Center on the States. (2008). One in 100: Behind bars in America 2008. Retrieved Feb 4, 2008, from http://www.pewcenteronthestates.org/report_detail.aspx?id=35904.
Pinta, E. R. (2001). The prevalence of serious mental disorders among U.S. prisoners. In G. Landsberg & A. Smiley (Eds.), Forensic mental health: Working with offenders with mental illness (pp. 12-1–12-10). Kingston, NJ: Civic Research Institute.
Regier, D. A., Farmer, M. E., Rae, D. S., Locke, B. Z., Keith, S. J., Judd, L. L., et al. (1990). Comorbidity of mental disorders with alcohol, other drug abuse. JAMA, 264, 2511–2518.
Robins, L. N., & Regier, D. A. (1991). Psychiatric disorders in America: The epidemiologic catchment area study. New York: Free Press.
Simpson, D. D. (1995). TCU forms manual: Improving drug abuse treatment, assessment, and research (DATAR). Fort Worth, TX: Texas Christian University.
Simpson, D. D., Knight, K., & Broome, K. M. (1997). TCU/CJ forms manual: Drug dependence screen and initial assessment. Fort Worth, TX: Texas Christian University.
Stokes, M., Davis, C. S., & Koch, G. G. (2000). Categorical data analysis using the SAS System (2nd ed.). Cary, NC: SAS.
Veysey, B. M., & Bichler-Robertson, G. (2002). Prevalence estimates of psychiatric disorders in correctional settings. In The health status of soon-to-be-released inmates: A report to congress (Vol. 2, pp. 57–80). Chicago: National Commission on Correctional Health Care.
Watkins, K. E., Burnam, A., Kung, F.-Y., & Paddock, S. (2001). A national survey of care for persons with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. Psychiatric Services, 52, 1062–1068.
The authors thank Leonard Pechacek for assistance in writing and editing this manuscript. The research described in this publication was coordinated in part by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) research agreement (515-MR07). The contents of this manuscript reflect the views of the authors and not necessarily those of the TDCJ.
About this article
Cite this article
Baillargeon, J., Penn, J.V., Knight, K. et al. Risk of Reincarceration Among Prisoners with Co-occurring Severe Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders. Adm Policy Ment Health 37, 367–374 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10488-009-0252-9
- Mental illness
- Substance abuse
- Criminal recidivism