Violent offenses associated with co-occurring substance use and mental health problems: Evidence from CJDATS

Authors

  • Stanley Sacks Ph.D.,

    Corresponding author
    • Center for the Integration of Research and Practice (CIRP), National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. (NDRI), 71 West 23rd Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10010, U.S.A.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Charles M. Cleland Ph.D.,

    Search for more papers by this author
    • Project Director, Center for the Integration of Research and Practice (CIRP), National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. (NDRI), New York, U.S.A.

  • Gerald Melnick Ph.D.,

    Search for more papers by this author
    • Senior Principal Investigator, Center for the Integration of Research and Practice (CIRP), National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. (NDRI), New York, U.S.A.

  • Patrick M. Flynn Ph.D.,

    Search for more papers by this author
    • Professor of Psychology and Deputy Director, Institute for Behavioral Research, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX, U.S.A.

  • Kevin Knight Ph.D.,

    Search for more papers by this author
    • Research Scientist, Institute for Behavioral Research, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX, U.S.A.

  • Peter D. Friedmann M.D., M.P.H.,

    Search for more papers by this author
    • Associate Professor of Medicine, Brown University, Program to Integrate Psychosocial and Health Services, Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Providence, RI, U.S.A.

  • Michael L. Prendergast Ph.D.,

    Search for more papers by this author
    • Director, Criminal Justice Research Group, Integrated Substance Abuse Treatment Programs, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A.

  • Carrie Coen MA

    Search for more papers by this author
    • Assistant Project Director, Center for the Integration of Research and Practice (CIRP), National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. (NDRI), New York, U.S.A.


  • This paper has not been published elsewhere nor has it been submitted simultaneously for publication elsewhere. This study was funded under a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH/NIDA). The authors gratefully acknowledge the collaborative contributions by NIDA, the Coordinating Center (Virginia Commonwealth University/University of Maryland at College Park, Bureau of Governmental Research), and the Research Centers participating in CJDATS (Brown University, Lifespan Hospital; Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services; National Development and Research Institutes, Inc., Center for Therapeutic Community Research; National Development and Research Institutes, Inc., Center for the Integration of Research and Practice; Texas Christian University, Institute of Behavioral Research; University of Delaware, Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies; University of Kentucky, Center on Drug and Alcohol Research; University of California at Los Angeles, Integrated Substance Abuse Programs; and University of Miami, Center for Treatment Research on Adolescent Drug Abuse). The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Health and Human Services, NIDA, or other CJDATS participants. Views and opinions are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, NIDA, or of other participants in CJDATS.

Abstract

The present study examines the relationship between substance use, mental health problems, and violence in a sample of offenders released from prison and referred to substance abuse treatment programs. Data from 34 sites (n = 1,349) in a federally funded cooperative, the Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Studies (CJDATS), were analyzed. Among parolees referred to substance abuse treatment, self-reports for the six-month period before the arrest resulting in their incarceration revealed frequent problems with both substance use and mental health. For most offenders with substance use problems, the quantity of alcohol consumed and the frequency of drug use were associated with a greater probability of self-reported violence. Mental health problems were not indicative of increases in violent behavior, with the exception of antisocial personality problems, which were associated with violence. The paper emphasizes the importance of providing substance abuse treatment in relation to violent behavior among offenders with mental health problems being discharged to the community. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Ancillary