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Review 1 of "Treating Criminal Justice-Involved Clients with SMI in the Community"

Published onMay 24, 2022
Review 1 of "Treating Criminal Justice-Involved Clients with SMI in the Community"
key-enterThis Pub is a Review of

Vote: Publish pending minor changes

[For votes to count, referees must reasonably explain why they voted as they did. Thus, please explain your vote. If you voted to publish pending minor changes, specify each change, why it is needed, and, possibly, how it should/could be done.]

This article deals with an important topic. Providing insight into how service providers perceive their organisations provides a valuable and original contribution, and while focused on the US, the findings have relevance elsewhere (the discussion around Medicaid was very interesting, and quite disturbing). The method is solid, including a good sample and systematic analysis. I enjoyed reading the article.

It does, however, need tidying up before publication. The following are relatively minor changes which are needed for the paper to be bought up to publishable quality.


  •  Define SMI – what does this include? People outside of the US, or outside of the mental health area, may misinterpret this without a clear definition (i.e. we all define serious differently).

  • The paper needs a thorough proof read (for example, check for contractions and & in the text).

  • Separate subheadings (i.e. Findings should be different to CMHCs are Underfunded) and be consistent (i.e. some 3rd order headings are in italics others are not)

  • I would like to see long quotes (over 20 words) separated from the text. This does come down to personal style, but it could make the article easier to read, especially quote from participants which get lost in long paragraphs.

  • Check reference list, it needs a proof read


  • Is the final sentence of the abstract correct?


  • ‘Over 2 million individuals’ – this data is almost a decade old, so needs updating.

  • Page 3, to avoid confusion, ‘In this study, the authors …’ should read ‘Keogh and colleagues (2020) examined …’


  • Was ethics granted and did any ethical issues arise? I presume it was, but it needs to be stated in the method

  • Table 1 could expanded to include more information? Expand gender and race breakdown beyond women, white and non-Hispanic.

  • It would be useful to have more information on the participant’s job titles (and maybe how long they were in their current role). We do not know if the sample is composed mainly of admin or clinical staff, for example.


  • All participant quotes should have a source – it may by be worth giving them a number and laying out their role, i.e. (P.1, mental health nurse) (P.2 addiction therapist). If there are ethical reasons for not doing this then they need to be made clear in the methodology.

  • The number and percentage of participants is included in some places, but only percentage in other. Include both where possible for consistency (an example of this lack of consistency can be found on page 10, final paragraph)

  • It may be worth considering if different practitioners had different perceptions? That is, a basic grade nurse may view the organisation differently from a psychologist.


  • I was unclear why research questions (RQ) were introduced in the discussion rather than methodology – I wonder if they are needed? If they then the reader needs to be guided through the discussion

  • Page 21, ‘the researcher was limited to a criminologist …’ – this sentence could be clearer, it may also be worth considering the benefits of including service users in future research

  • Page 22 – the sentence on legalisation is a throwaway. It would need to be developed further to have any impact, and may also detract from the core argument of the paper. There has been a lot of research conducted on the impact of legalisation which would need to be considered, and decriminalisation may be a better mechanism to divert people away from the criminal justice system.

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