Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2017


The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of mental healthcare in the criminal justice system on post-release recidivism of people with serious mental illness (PSMI). It can be noted that mental illness is not the cause of criminal behavior, but there is a significant negative relationship between mental health services available while incarcerated and successful community reentry. A review of previous research on this topic was used to develop the hypotheses and questions tested in this study. The review provides evidence that PSMI who have been involved with more community based outpatient services have been more susceptible to treatment and will more consistently seek psychiatric or rehabilitative care for a longer period of time post-release. Specifically, the analyses conducted will focus on the effect that mental health care received while incarcerated has on re-arrest rates at 3 months post-release. The findings of the study will be interpreted and used to discuss possible treatment implications or programs that could lower rates of re-arrest in the future. A focus on enhancing outpatient services, such as mental health courts or other intensive community treatment programs (ICTP), could lead to a more successful reintegration and reduce the risk of rearrests for individuals who have previously been involved in the criminal justice system.