Psychiatric illness and the risk of reoffending: Recurrent event analysis for an Australian birth cohort

Dr James Ogilvie1, Dr Stacy  Tzoumakis2, Dr  Carleen Thompson2, Dr Troy Allard2, Professor Susan  Dennison1, Professor Steve Kisley3, Professor  Anna Stewart1

1Griffith Criminology Institute, Brisbane, Australia
2School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
3University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

The link between psychiatric illness and offending is well-established; however, less is known about how different psychiatric illnesses influence reoffending for different offence types among individuals who come into contact with the criminal justice system. Using linked health and justice data for a birth cohort, we examined the relationship between different psychiatric disorders (e.g., serious mental illnesses, mood and anxiety disorders, substance use disorders) and reoffending (e.g., violent, non-violent, minor). Data were drawn from the Queensland Cross-sector Research Collaboration repository, which links information for individuals across agency administrative records (e.g., corrections and health). A population cohort of N=82,544 individuals born in Queensland in 1983 and 1984 was followed up to age 29-31 years. Information regarding psychiatric disorders was drawn from inpatient health records, while offending information was drawn from youth and adult court records. The final sample consisted of n=24,020 individuals who had at least one finalised court appearance. A series of analyses for recurrent events were conducted to examine the association between diagnosed psychiatric disorders and reoffending. Four key findings emerged: 1) Indigenous Australians were overrepresented in experiencing court appearances and receiving psychiatric diagnoses; 2) there are demographic differences in the timing of onset for offending and psychiatric disorder diagnoses; 3) psychiatric diagnoses are associated with individuals accumulating a greater number of court contacts over time; and 4) the association between psychiatric diagnoses and reoffending differed for Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals and across offence types. These findings are discussed in relation to the management of psychiatric illness within the justice system and implications for how health and justice systems may better work together to minimise poor outcomes for the highly vulnerable group of individuals who present with psychiatric health problems and antisocial behaviour.


Bio to come


Dec 09 2021