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The Relationship between Amphetamine Use, Crime and Psychiatric Disorder among Prisoners in New South Wales

Psychiatry, Psychology and Law
Volume 13 Issue 2 (Nov 2006)

Abstract: The study used data from a survey of the mental health of prisoners to examine possible links between amphetamine use, psychiatric disorder and the alleged offences for which the inmate was received to NSW prisons. Ethical approval was obtained to examine data from inmates received to NSW prisons in 2001. Prisoners had been interviewed using the CIDI-auto and several other structured questionnaires, using methodology similar to the National Mental Health Survey. Data analysis was carried out in the form of chi-square frequency tables and logistic regression. About a third of the inmates received to NSW prisons during the study period had been using amphetamines in the 12-month period before their arrest. The charges were more likely to be for robbery or property crimes ([lower case chi]2 = 22.185, p = .014). Amphetamine users had more admissions to psychiatric hospitals ([lower case chi]2 2 = 13.740, p < .001) than non-users and were more likely to report symptoms of psychotic illness ([lower case chi]2 = 16.252, p < .001). The combination of amphetamine use and the reported presence of psychotic symptoms was associated with violent offending (OR = 1.86, p = .017). The results show that the charges laid against amphetamine users were similar to those for heroin users, but they suffered more psychiatric disorder. Those reporting psychotic symptoms were more likely to have allegedly committed violent offences.

To cite this article: Riddell, Steven; Nielssen, Olav; Butler, Tony; Christie, MacDonald and Starmer, Graham. The Relationship between Amphetamine Use, Crime and Psychiatric Disorder among Prisoners in New South Wales [online]. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, Vol. 13, No. 2, Nov 2006: 160-165. Availability: <http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=749380244809791;res=IELHEA> ISSN: 1321-8719. [cited 25 Sep 16].

Personal Author: Riddell, Steven; Nielssen, Olav; Butler, Tony; Christie, MacDonald; Starmer, Graham; Source: Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, Vol. 13, No. 2, Nov 2006: 160-165 Document Type: Journal Article ISSN: 1321-8719 Subject: Amphetamines; Psychoses; Drug abuse and crime; Prisoners--Mental health; Statistics; Composite International Diagnostic Interview; Mentally ill prisoners; Affiliation: (1) University of Sydney, Australia
(2) Visiting Psychiatrist, St Vincentís Hospital, Sydney, Australia
(3) New South Wales Corrective Services, Australia
(4) University of Sydney, Australia
(5) University of Sydney, Australia

Database: Health Collection