Background The occurrence of personality disorder among community supervised offenders may have important implications for their management. There is, however, a dearth of contextual information on personality disorder in such populations. Aims This study aimed to identify demographic, substance use and forensic features that distinguish community-sentenced offenders with personality disorder from those without. Methods One hundred and seventy-three offenders under community supervision were screened for personality disorder using the Standardised Assessment of Personality - Abbreviated Scale. Alcohol and drug misuse, demographic and forensic data were also recorded. Results Nearly half of the sample (82, 47%) had probable personality disorder. Compared with those without personality disorder, they were younger, more likely to be unemployed, less likely to be divorced, more likely to have been convicted of robbery and more likely to be alcohol or illicit drug misusers, as well as under drug rehabilitation requirements. Multivariate analyses confirmed that only alcohol and drug abuse were independently associated with personality disorder in this group, and only the latter was significant. Conclusions In this broadly representative sample of offenders serving community sentences in a defined geographical area, those with personality disorder were not more likely to attract higher risk of recidivism ratings, but they were more likely to have problems with heavy alcohol and/or illicit drug misuse.