Factors associated with recidivism at a South African forensic psychiatric hospital
Aims: This study examines common factors associated with recidivism among state patients at a South African forensic psychiatric hospital. More specifically, demographic, clinical and criminological factors of a recidivist group are compared to a non-recidivist group with the intention of understanding to what extent these factors might determine the likelihood of re-offending.
Method: A retrospective case file review of 293 inpatients and a random selection of 120 outpatients was conducted. For the purpose of the study, a patient was classified as a recidivist if an additional charge or act of violence was added to the file while the patient was on leave of absence in the community. Of the inpatients, only those who met the criteria for recidivism were included in the study. All 120 randomly selected outpatients were included. Demographic, clinical and criminological data were captured for all patients.
Results: Eighty recidivists were compared with 100 non-recidivists. Using the × 2 and Fischer’s exact test, substance-use disorder, antisocial personality disorder, an index offence of assault and in-ward adverse events were found to be associated with recidivism (p < 0.05). Using logistic regression analysis, the odds of recidivism in a patient with an index offence of assault was 8.4 times of those who did not commit assault as an index offence (95.0% CI 1.6–43.1). The odds of recidivism for patients with cannabis use was 2.8 (95.0% CI 1.3–6.0) and for patients with in-ward adverse sexual behaviour was 17.2 (95.0% CI 2.0–150).
Conclusion: Substance-use disorder and antisocial personality disorder are associated with higher risk for recidivism. This study also highlights that a less serious offence such as assault had a higher association with recidivism. Patients noted to display adverse sexual behaviour in the ward pose a potentially high risk for re-offence. Important criminal history factors and certain clinical factors could not be interpreted because of large amounts of missing data in patients’ files.
The author(s) retain copyright on work published by AOSIS unless specified otherwise.
Licensing and publishing rights
Author(s) of work published by AOSIS are required to grant AOSIS the unlimited rights to publish the definitive work in any format, language and medium, for any lawful purpose.
AOSIS requires journal authors to publish their work in open access under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence.
Read more here: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
The authors retain the non-exclusive right to do anything they wish with the published article(s), provided attribution is given to the applicable journal with details of the original publication, as set out in the official citation of the article published in the journal. The retained right specifically includes the right to post the article on the authors’ or their institution’s websites or in institutional repositories.
Previously published work may have been published under a different licence. We advise the community that if they would like to reuse the work to consult the applicable licence at article level.