Crime-Specific Recidivism in Criminal Justice Clients with Substance Use—A Cohort Study

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Criminal recidivism is a major global concern. There is a well-known association between substance use disorders and offending. Yet, little is known about crime-specific recidivism. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between specific substance use and crime-specific recidivism. The study is based on 4207 Swedish prison clients with substance use assessed with Addiction Severity Index interviews between 2001 and 2006. Clients were followed for an average of 2.7 years. Risk factors for criminal recidivism were assessed with the Cox regression analysis. Sixty-eight percent of the clients returned to the criminal justice system. Apart from well-known risk factors such as male gender and young age, amphetamine, injection drug use, prior prosecution for violent and property crime, as well as homelessness and psychiatric problems, were risk factors for criminal recidivism. Sedatives and cannabis were, in this setting, negative risk factors for general recidivism. Age, heroin and injection drug use elevated the risks of recidivism to property and drug crime. Alcohol was associated with violent recidivism. When analysing different categories of crime separately, risk factors differed substantially. This further highlights the need for crimespecific research. Identifying crime-specific risk factors should be an important part of improving rehabilitation into society after imprisonment and hopefully decrease recidivism.

TidskriftInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
StatusPublished - 2022

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