Supportive housing and forensic patient outcomes

Law Hum Behav. 2015 Jun;39(3):311-20. doi: 10.1037/lhb0000112. Epub 2014 Nov 3.


In Canada, Review Boards are mandated to evaluate individuals found Not Criminally Responsible on Account of Mental Disorder (NCRMD) on an annual basis and render 1 of 3 dispositions: (a) custody, (b) conditional discharge, or (c) absolute discharge. To promote social reintegration, conditional discharge can be ordered with the condition to live in supportive housing. However, NCRMD accused face great barriers to housing access as a result of the stigma associated with the forensic label. The goal of this study was to evaluate the role of housing in the clinical and criminal trajectories of forensic patients as they reintegrate into the community. Data for this study were extracted from a national study of individuals found NCRMD in Canada (Crocker, Nicholls, Seto, Côté, et al., in press). The present study focuses on a random sample of NCRMD accused in the province of Québec, who were under a conditional discharge disposition during the study period (n = 837). Controlling for sociodemographic, clinical, and criminal variables, survival analysis showed that individuals placed in independent housing following a conditional discharge from the Review Board were 2.5 times more likely to commit a new offense, nearly 3 times more likely to commit an offense against a person, and 1.4 times more likely to be readmitted for psychiatric treatment compared with individuals residing in supportive housing. These results point to the influence housing can have on the trajectories of forensic patients, above and beyond a range of clinical, criminological, and sociodemographic factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Criminals / psychology*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Housing*
  • Humans
  • Insanity Defense*
  • Male
  • Mental Competency / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Quebec
  • Young Adult