The Relationship Between Severe Mental Disorders and Recidivism in a Sample of Women Released from Prison [2018]

Women are one of the fastest growing sectors of the prison population, and have different pathways into prison and differing needs during the reentry process when compared to men (Cloyes et al. J Forensic Nurs; 6:3-14, 2010b; Herrschaft et al. J Offender Rehabil; 48:463-482, 2009). Women report higher levels of mental health problems overall, and report more severe symptomatology (Cloyes et al. J Forensic Nurs; 6:3-14, 2010a; Hyde 2012; Lynch et al. 2014). The current study focuses on the role of severe mental disorders for women released from prison. Data collected from the North Carolina Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice were used to analyze the specific role of severe mental disorders in women’s recidivism at eight years post-release (n = 2311). Approximately 20% of women in this sample met the criteria for diagnosis with a severe mental disorder (SMD). Logistic regression analysis indicated that there was an association between SMDs and recidivism for this sample only (p = .11). Cox regression analyses indicated that women diagnosed with SMDs were 16% more likely to have recidivated at eight years post-release compared with women who were not diagnosed with an SMD (p < .05). Implications for the recognition, role, and treatment of SMDs during reentry are discussed.

Erin A. King, Stephen J. Tripodi, Christopher A. Veeh

Psychiatric Quarterly, September 2018, Volume 89, Issue 3