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Co-Occurring Severe Mental Illnesses and Substance Abuse Disorders as Predictors of State Prison Inmate Assaults

NCJ Number
Crime and Delinquency Volume: 59 Issue: 4 Dated: June 2013 Pages: 510-535
Steven R. Wood; Anthony Buttaro, Jr.
Date Published
June 2013
26 pages
This study examined inmates with dual severe psychiatric and substance abuse disorders.
Using hierarchical logistic regression with a nationally representative sample of State prisoners (n = 12,504), the authors found inmates with dual severe psychiatric and substance abuse disorders to be at higher risk of being assaulted and to assault others in prison than nonmentally ill inmates. Dually disordered inmates may be "importing" characteristics that put them at more risk of involvement in assaults. Next, more than 50 percent of assault victims were themselves the perpetrators of assault, and significant percentages of inmates reported posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnoses and physical and sexual victimizations. With other studies linking PTSD and being assaulted with revictimization and violence toward others, substance abuse, and poorer psychiatric outcomes, a study implication is providing inmates with effective trauma-relevant treatments. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.