Crime Victims and Criminal Offenders Among Adults With Serious Mental Illness

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ObjectiveThis study compared crime victimization rates with rates of criminal offending among adults with serious mental illness.MethodsStatistical estimation determined caseload overlap between anonymous extracts from public mental health and criminal justice databases for 13 rural Vermont counties. Participants included 2,610 adults who received community-based services during the study year (July 2005 through June 2006).ResultsAmong the 2,610 adults 6.6% were identified by police as criminal offenders and 7.1% were identified as crime victims. Compared with the general population, however, their elevated risk of being identified as a victim (2.4) was lower than their elevated risk of being identified as an offender (2.6). These categories are not mutually exclusive.ConclusionsTo better understand involvement in the criminal justice system among adults with serious mental illness, research should consider rates of criminal offending and victimization and compare these with rates for the general population.

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