Critical Issues - Community Re-Integration

From: Law and Human Behavior, Vol. 15, No. 5, 1991

A Comparison of the Community Adjustment of Mentally Ill Offenders with Those from the General Prison Population (An 18-Month Followup)

Lynette Feder


In an effort to understand the relationship between crime and mental illness, mentally ill offenders (MIOs) and those from the general prison population (non-MIOs) are compared on their postprison adjustment. MIOs are defined as those individuals who required psychiatric hospitalization during their incarceration. These 547 offenders (147 MIOs and 400 non-MIOs) were then followed for 18 months from date of prison discharge. Information on their adjustment came from several sources, including correctional data, parole reports, incidence of arrests and dispositions, and rates of psychiatric hospitalization. With the exception of drug offenses, no significant differences were found in the rate or types of rearrests between the two groups. Additionally, rearrest among MIOs was found to be associated with the same standard correlates of crime found in nondisturbed offenders: age and prior criminal record. Policy implications derived from these findings are discussed.

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