Department of Justice is now the Department of Communities and Justice.  Find out more >

CJB108

Author Craig Jones and Sandra Crawford
Published March 2007
Report Type Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 108
Subject Mental health; Socioeconomic factors and crime; Victims
Keywords court defendants, crime prevention, social disadvantage, psychological disadvantage

Download this publication

Summary

Aim

The current study assessed levels of social and psychological disadvantage among a sample of NSW court defendants.

Abstract

The current study assessed levels of social and psychological disadvantage among a sample of NSW court defendants. Structured face-to-face interviews were carried out with 189 people appearing in one of two NSW Local Courts to determine:

(a) what proportion could potentially benefit from accessing social services (such as education/employment programs, substance abuse treatment or mental health treatment),
(b) whether those in need of services were currently accessing them,
(c) whether they would willingly access those services or additional services if they were made available and
(d) what potential barriers hinder access to these services.

The study found very high rates of unemployment, financial stress, literacy and learning difficulties, housing instability, problematic gambling behaviour, substance abuse and mental and physical health problems. The high rates of each of these problems, coupled with the fact that most of these areas of criminogenic risk or disadvantage are not mutually exclusive, suggests that comprehensive rehabilitation programs may be appropriate court-based crime prevention interventions. Essential components of good rehabilitation programs are discussed, as are other potential points of intervention.

Download this publication