Incarceration rates for people with serious mental illnesses are higher than the general population. However, research has been limited in regards to patterns of incarcerations for patients treated in public mental health settings. This study examines differences in lifetime imprisonment rates among patients of a U.S. urban Community Mental Health Center (CMHC) and national samples, within gender, race and education subgroups.
Participants were interviewed about their criminal history. Analyses compared lifetime incarceration history in this sample to a group with similar demographics. A majority (69.6%) of the sample had been incarcerated and 34.0% had been incarcerated with a felony charge as compared with 2.7% expected for the control sample.
Within every racial and educational subgroup, incarceration rates were high compared to the general population. Though racial and educational factors partly explained added incarceration risk, presence of a serious mental disorder heightened the incarceration risk within all strata in this public sector setting.
Anderson, A., Esenwein, S.v., Spaulding, A. et al. Involvement in the criminal justice system among attendees of an urban mental health center. Health Justice 3, 4 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40352-015-0017-3