A new, long-term study published in the May 2011 issue of Psychiatric Services reports dramatic benefits of assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) to its participants and society.
“Arrest Outcomes Associated with Outpatient Commitment in New York State” by Bruce G. Link, PhD, of Columbia University and four co-authors followed 183 patients at outpatient clinics in New York City, 86 of whom had participated in Kendra’s Law and 86 who had not. The study found:
- The population that never received AOT was twice as likely to be arrested as the group that did receive it.
- Among those receiving AOT, the risk of any arrest was 2.66 greater before participation than after.
- Among those receiving AOT, the risk of arrest for a violent offense was 8.61 times greater before participation in AOT than after.
“AOT, as implemented under Kendra’s Law in New York State, is a policy that substantially reduces the risk of arrest, including arrests for violent offenses among people with serious mental illnesses,” the authors wrote. “From the vantage point of a general public concerned with violence…, this is a very positive and straightforward outcome: Kendra’s Law directly results in reduced crime and violence.”
The authors said the reduced arrest rate “pushes us to consider a very beneficial trade-off in coercion, with a relatively small exposure under Kendra’s Law forestalling a substantially larger exposure delivered by arrest.”