Individual factors associated with recidivism among mental health court program clients

Desmond Loong, Jan Barnsley, Tim Aubry, Carolyn S. Dewa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is growing evidence that diversion to a mental health court program (MHC) can reduce recidivism rates and improve the quality of life of clients. However, there is less known about MHC client characteristics and factors associated with recidivism. Yet, this information would be useful to increase the effectiveness of these programs. Cross-sectional quantitative data were collected on MHC clients in three consecutive years. Of the 155 program clients that were successfully interviewed, only 154 were included in the analysis due to one non-consent to collect further data from their case manager. The purpose of this secondary analysis was to examine “What individual factors are associated with recidivism among MHC program clients?” This analysis specifically explored the association of sex, age, low functional ability, homelessness, court site, and criminal history. From the multiple logistic regression results, the increased risk of recidivism was found to be significantly associated with younger clients and a prior criminal history. The results of this study suggest programs tailored to young adults and repeat offenders may be areas that MHCs could potentially focus on to increase their effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101651
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Psychiatry
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Mental health courts
  • Rearrest
  • Recidivism
  • Severe mental illness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law


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