Predictors of Criminal Charges for Youth in Public Mental Health Services During the Transition to Adulthood
Pullmann, Michael David
This dissertation is a collection of three studies examining the overlap between mental health services and being charged with a crime during the time of transition to adulthood from 16 to 25 years of age. The first study extends past research on predictors of criminal charges for youth in the public mental health system. Findings from this study indicated high levels of dual involvement. In general, males and youth diagnosed with substance use disorder or conduct disorder were more likely to have a criminal charge. Residential treatment, inpatient hospitalization, and anxiety disorder were generally not related to criminal charges. The second study documented the annual incidence and cumulative prevalence of being charged with a crime for youth served in out-of-home treatment while 16, 17, or 18 years old. Results indicated that both males and females served in out-of-home treatment had high annual incidence and cumulative prevalence rates of being charged with a crime into young adulthood. However, youth served in non-out-of-home treatment had similarly high rates. These groups did not significantly differ in annual or cumulative charge rates before 16, when 16 to 18, or from 18 to 25 years old. The third study longitudinally modeled the probability of being charged with a crime in relation to localized events, including being served in out-of-home treatment and aging into adulthood. Results indicated that out-of-home treatment was related to a decreased probability of being charged with a crime while the youth was in treatment, but that it had no effect on post-treatment probability. Longitudinal probability of being charged was moderated by gender; in general, females did not experience a peak probability time, while males peaked at age 19. Other significant contributors to being charged included having a substance use diagnosis, and having an offense record prior to age 16.