Can involuntary outpatient commitment reduce arrests among persons with severe mental illness?

  • Swanson J
  • Borum R
  • Swartz M
 et al. 
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Involuntary outpatient commitment (OPC) is a promising but controversial legal intervention that may reduce criminal justice contact in persons with severe mental illness (SMI). This article examines arrest outcomes in a 1-yr randomized study of OPC in 262 participants with SMI in North Carolina. Extended OPC was found to be significantly associated with reduced arrest probability (12% vs. 45%) in a subgroup with a prior history of multiple hospitalizations combined with prior arrests and/or violent behavior. Reduction in risk of violent behavior was a significant mediating factor in the association between OPC and arrest. In persons with SMI whose history of arrests is related directly to illness relapse, OPC may reduce criminal justice contact by increasing participation in mental health services. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)

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  • Randy BorumSchool of Information, University of South Florida

  • Jeffrey W. Swanson

  • Marvin S. Swartz

  • Virginia A. Hiday

  • H. Ryan Wagner

  • Barbara J. Burns

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