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Background Some patients are at higher risk of contact with criminal justice agencies when experiencing a first episode of psychosis. Aims To investigate whether violence explains criminal justice pathways (CJPs) for psychosis in general, and ethnic vulnerability to CJPs. Method Two-year population-based survey of people presenting with a first-episode of psychosis. A total of 481 patients provided information on pathways to psychiatric care. The main outcome was a CJP at first contact compared with other services on the care pathway. Results CJPs were more common if there was violence at first presentation (odds ratio (OR) = 4.23, 95% CI 2.74-6.54, P50.001), drug use in the previous year (OR = 2.28, 95% CI 1.50-3.48, P50.001) and for high psychopathy scores (OR = 2.54, 95% CI 1.43-4.53, P = 0.002). Compared with White British, CJPs were more common among Black Caribbean (OR = 2.97, 95% CI 1.54-5.72, <50.001) and Black African patients (OR = 1.95, 95% CI 1.02-3.72, P = 0.01). Violence mediated 30.2% of the association for Black Caribbeans, but was not a mediator for Black African patients. These findings were sustained after adjustment for age, marital status, gender and employment. Conclusions CJPs were more common in violent presentations, for greater psychopathy levels and drug use. Violence presentations did not fully explain ethnic vulnerability to CJPs.

Original publication




Journal article


British Journal of Psychiatry

Publication Date





523 - 529