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J Community Health. 2006 Apr;31(2):123-35.

History of arrest, incarceration and victimization in community-based severely mentally ill.

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  • 1University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing, Department of Community Health Systems, 2 Koret Way, Box 0608, San Francisco, California 94143-0608, USA.


This study examined history of arrest and victimization in an urban community sample of severely mentally ill adults. Adults (n = 308) were consented and interviewed in one of four short-term residential treatment facilities in San Francisco. Nearly three quarters (71.4%) had been arrested at some time in their lives, 28.2% of whom had been arrested in the past 6 months. Substance use and homelessness were associated with history of arrest, while gender and ethnicity were not, although African Americans were more likely to have spent longer time in jail or prison. One quarter (25.6%) reported victimization. Being female (OR 2.02, 95% CI 1.2-3.5, p = 0.032) and homeless (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.2-3.8, p = 0.013) were associated with reporting victimization. Severe mental illness, in particular in combination with substance abuse and homelessness, is associated with higher prevalence of both arrest and victimization history. Healthcare providers should solicit histories to include these events in order to understand and provide optimal care and case management services.

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