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Mental illnesses, substance use, and their co-occurrence are significant predictors of maladaptive outcomes such as aggression, criminal behavior, and recidivism. These problems are theorized to be more prevalent and problematic among female inmates than male inmates and may be more relevant in jail settings. However, few studies have examined the relationship between these factors, including gender differences among the jail population. This study seeks to fill these gaps by examining – a) the prevalence of these problems, b) their effects on recidivism, and c) gender differences in these relationships – among jail inmates. Results indicate that mental illness significantly increased recidivism for men and its impact on recidivism was stronger for males than females, and mental illness primarily occurred in the presence of substance use. Finally, although substance use was very high among males and females, it was not significantly related to recidivism for either group. In order to offer programming for these problems, administrators should first implement the use of needs assessments which would identify at-risk inmates.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Corrections on June 28, 2022, available online:

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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