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Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2014 Aug;22(8):845-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2013.07.002. Epub 2013 Sep 8.

Psychosocial and reincarceration risks among older adults in mental health courts.

Author information

  • 1School of Social Work, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO. Electronic address:
  • 2School of Social Policy & Practice,University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.
  • 3University of Missouri, Columbia, MO.



Older adults are increasingly involved in the criminal justice system, yet there is limited research regarding their needs and experiences. This study examined differences in psychosocial experiences and reincarceration between older and younger adults with psychiatric disorders involved in the criminal justice system.


Participants (N = 80) were recruited from two mental health courts in the midwestern United States. Bivariate analyses examined age-related differences in psychosocial experiences and reincarceration between younger and older participants.


Older adults, on average, experienced more treatment adherence and fewer probation violations than younger adults during the 6-month follow-up; however, they experienced comparable risk for reincarceration. Older adults' substance use, service use, housing instability, and program retention were similar to their younger counterparts.


Despite older mental health court participants' treatment adherence and reduced probation violations, they are at risk for incarceration, substance use, and housing instability.

Copyright © 2014 American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Psychosocial and recidivism risk; older age; psychiatric disorders

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