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  • Thumbnail for Can An Increase In Mental Health Resources Decrease Crime Rates? A County-Level Analysis
    Can An Increase In Mental Health Resources Decrease Crime Rates? A County-Level Analysis by Di Filippo, Leah

    The increase in the incarceration rate and the decrease of mental institutions led to a disproportionate amount of offenders with mental illnesses. Current literature has explored the effect of mental health treatment on offenders in order to reduce recidivism, but the relationship between the level of mental health resources and crime rates in general has yet to be researched. This paper investigates this relationship at a county-level for the continental United States in order to address this break in literature. Mental health, criminological, and economic data are combined to illustrate a complete representation of the relationship between the availability of mental health resources and the crime rate. Both the total county crime rate and the county violent crime rate are analyzed in context of this relationship. This study concludes that both the total county crime rate and the county violent crime rate are marginally positively correlated with a lack of mental health resources. While the findings do not represent a large effect, this study proves that there is a significant relationship between crime rates and mental health resources.