Criminal history as a prognostic indicator in the treatment of homeless people with severe mental illness

James F. McGuire


This study examined the clinical problems and treatment outcomes of homeless people with severe mental illness and a history of incarceration. Clients with a long-term incarceration history had higher psychiatric symptom scores, higher drug use and alcohol use scores, and higher levels of dual diagnosis than those with a short-term incarceration history or those with no history of incarceration. The same order of differences was found on measures of childhood abuse, family-of-origin stability, and childhood conduct disorder. Clients with an incarceration history of six months or more reported higher levels of long-term homelessness than the group without an incarceration history. This study found that among homeless clients with severe mental illness, clients with a history of incarceration have more serious problems and show somewhat less improvement in some community adjustment domains.

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