Factors Predicting Arrest for Homeless Persons Receiving Integrated Residential Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

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Background Homeless individuals are at increased risk for health and criminal justice problems. Aims The aim of this study was to examine risk factors affecting arrest rates in a cohort of homeless people with co-occurring psychiatric and substance-abuse disorders. Methods Baseline data were collected from 96 homeless individuals residing in a residential treatment facility for people with co-occurring disorders. Arrest data were obtained for 2 years following treatment intake. Regression analyses were employed to examine interactions between study variables. Results One third of the sample was arrested during the 2-year follow-up period, principally for drug offences. People referred to treatment directly from the criminal justice system were four times more likely to re-offend than those referred from other sources. Participants’ perceived need for mental-health services reduced risk of arrest while their perception of medical needs increased this risk. Conclusions The relationship between referral from a criminal justice source and re-arrest after admission to the treatment facility is unsurprising, and consistent with previous literature, but the suggestion of an independently increased risk in the presence of perceived physical health-care needs is worthy of further study. The lower risk of arrest for people who perceive that they have psychological needs is encouraging.

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Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, v. 19, issue 5, p. 291-297