Abundant research confirms a high prevalence of substance use and mental disorders in correctional samples. It is unclear, however, how these contribute to the risk of repeat offending. The present study examined offence trajectories among a Canadian Provincial population (N= 31,014), and observed that offenders with non-substance related mental disorders were at no greater risk of recidivism than those with no diagnosis. However, odds of recidivism were significantly higher among those with substance use and/or co-occurring disorders. These findings add strength to the emerging conclusion that non-substance related mental disorders are, as a group, less likely to predict recidivism than substance use disorders. Notably, nearly 50% of the offender population had a physician-diagnosed substance use disorder in the five years prior to their index offence. Results are discussed in relation to necessity for evidence-based partnerships between health and corrections sectors that are responsive to both public health and safety.
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Thesis advisor: Somers, Julian
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