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


Journal Article

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-year 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. © 2001 American Association for Correctional Psychology.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Swanson, JW; Borum, R; Swartz, MS; Hiday, VA; Wagner, HR; Burns, BJ

Published Date

  • January 1, 2001

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 28 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 156 - 189

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0093-8548

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0093854801028002002

Citation Source

  • Scopus