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The role of gender in mental health court admission and completion

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nicole Adams-QuackenbushORCiD


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Mental Health Courts (MHCs) have emerged across North America in an effort to address the criminalization of persons with mental illness. Despite a growing body of literature examining MHCs, research on the role of gender in MHCs remains scarce. For this study, secondary data were analyzed to examine whether gender differences in mental illness and crime affected the likelihood of MHC admission and completion in referrals to the Nova Scotia MHC (507 men, 243 women). Consistent with predictions, MHC admission and completion rates were similar between men and women. Higher rates of psychotic and substance use disorders were observed among men, whereas women had higher rates of mood and personality disorders. Although cases with psychotic and mood disorders were more likely to be admitted to the MHC, and those with substance use and personality disorders were less likely to be admitted, these differences did not vary by gender. Contrary to prediction, men had higher rates of violent index offenses than women; however, this difference was only present for those who were not admitted to the MHC. Findings are discussed in terms of contributions to the literature surrounding the role of gender in MHCs, as well as notable implications for MHC practices and research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ennis AR, McLeod P, Watt MC, Campbell MA, Adams-Quackenbush NM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Year: 2016

Volume: 58

Pages: 1-30

Print publication date: 20/01/2016

Acceptance date: 03/08/2015

ISSN (print): 1707-7753

ISSN (electronic): 1911-0219

Publisher: University of Toronto Press


DOI: 10.3138/cjccj.2015.E08


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