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Dual diagnoses among detained female systematic offenders

Eric Blaauw (Verslavingszorg Noord Nederland, Groningen, Netherlands)
Gytha Strijker (Verslavingszorg Noord Nederland, Groningen, Netherlands)
Yentl Boerema (Verslavingszorg Noord Nederland, Groningen, Netherlands)
Eric Veersma (Dienst Justitiële Inrichtingen, Zwolle, Netherlands)
Margreet van der Meer-Jansma (Verslavingszorg Noord Nederland, Groningen, Netherlands)
Gabriel Anthonio (Verslavingszorg Noord Nederland, Groningen, Netherlands)

Advances in Dual Diagnosis

ISSN: 1757-0972

Article publication date: 15 February 2016




The purpose of this paper is to examine the prevalence of psychopathology including substance use disorders in a sample of detained female systematic offenders.


All case files of female systematic offenders who had been subjected to a special court order for systematic offenders in the period 2004-2014 were studied. A total of 81 fairly complete case files were selected for the study. These were all systematic offenders as they had been sentenced for at least 25 offences with an average of 102 offences over a period of 17.5 years.


All except one woman were addicted to substances in the past year, with an average duration of addiction of 21 years. In addition, 53 per cent were diagnosed with another DSM Axis I disorder and 73 per cent were diagnosed with a personality disorder. Furthermore, 32-59 per cent were found to have intellectual dysfunctions. In total, 12 per cent had one type of the above disorders, 43 per cent two types, 31 per cent three types and 14 per cent all four types. The prevalence rates of these disorders were higher than those reported in other prison studies.

Research limitations/implications

It is concluded that female systematic offenders can be characterised as problematic in many respects. Even in such a problematic group treatment can be provided.


The present study is the only study that provides prevalence data of mental disorders among female systematic offenders.



Blaauw, E., Strijker, G., Boerema, Y., Veersma, E., van der Meer-Jansma, M. and Anthonio, G. (2016), "Dual diagnoses among detained female systematic offenders", Advances in Dual Diagnosis, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 7-13.



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