Examining the Impact of Mental Illness and Substance Use on Time till Re-incarceration in a County Jail

Abstract

This paper examines the role that substance use and serious mental illness play in criminal justice recidivism by examining the time to return to jail for a cohort of people admitted to jail in 2003 (N = 16,434). These analyses found that people with serious mental illness alone experienced the longest time in the community before returning to jail and were found to have a risk of re-incarceration that did not differ significantly from individuals with no psychiatric or substance use diagnoses. People with co-occurring disorders had a risk of re-incarceration that was over 40 % higher than that of individuals with no diagnosis.

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Acknowledgments

This is one of several papers about the dynamics of mental illness in an urban jail system. This study was partially funded by the city of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health. The authors thank the city of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health for sharing data and providing feedback on the study findings. This research was completed at the Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research, University of Pennsylvania, 3535 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19104.

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The authors report no competing financial interests or commercial relationships.

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Correspondence to Amy Blank Wilson.

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Blank Wilson, A., Draine, J., Barrenger, S. et al. Examining the Impact of Mental Illness and Substance Use on Time till Re-incarceration in a County Jail. Adm Policy Ment Health 41, 293–301 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10488-013-0467-7

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Keywords

  • Co-occurring disorders
  • Criminal justice involvement
  • Serious mental illness