Co-Occurring Mental Illness and Substance Abuse in the Criminal Justice System: Some Implications for Local Jurisdictions

Michael D. White, John S. Goldkamp, Suzanne P. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


The increasing role of police, courts, and corrections in dealing with the mentally ill represents a significant challenge facing local justice systems. This article considers the impact of mentally ill and substance-abusing offenders in Santa Fe, New Mexico, by comparing a random sample of individuals detained on protective custody and mental health holds (n = 338) to a random sample of defendants arrested on criminal charges (n = 153). Results indicate that police encounter individuals with co-occurring disorders on a daily basis and that individuals detained on holds are much more likely than are those arrested to generate additional police contacts during a 1-year follow-up period. Individuals with co-occurring disorders also represent a serious financial burden on the local system, particularly in terms of confinement costs. The article concludes with a discussion of implications for criminal justice policy and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-326
Number of pages26
JournalThe Prison Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006



  • co-occurring disorders
  • criminal justice
  • mental illness
  • mentally ill
  • substance abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Law

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