Summer Research Fellowship Program
Natalie Bonfine, Ph.D.
Characteristics of People with Mental Health Needs Who are Experiencing First Episode Incarceration
The aim of this study is to complete secondary data analysis to better understand the characteristics of the target population: individuals with mental health needs who are new to the criminal justice system. This research will consist of descriptive and comparative analyses. While the student Fellow will work with the PI to develop and define specific research questions for the analysis, the general, guiding research objectives for this study are to:
- Assess sociodemographic factors, types of offenses, and level of criminogenic and clinical needs of the target group
- Explore differences in sociodemographic factors, types of offenses, and level of criminogenic and clinical needs between the target group and people who have mental illness and substance use needs but who have prior incarcerations, and
- Compare characteristics of new offenders with mental illness and/or substance use needs with characteristics of new offenders who do not have mental health and/or substance use needs in length of initial incarceration, type of offense and criminogenic risk.
Research questions for the descriptive analysis will examine the sociodemographic characteristics, level of criminogenic risk and clinical need of individuals who have mental health and/or substance use needs who are new to the criminal justice system, the average length of stay in jail for this target population, and nature of the offenses that bring individuals with first episode incarceration to jail. The comparative analysis will explore differences among the target population and other groups of people in the criminal justice system.