A Survey of Alcohol Vulnerability of Male Prison Inmates in Nigeria

By Chenube, Olufunke; Dosumu, Simeon et al. | Gender & Behaviour, December 2011 | Go to article overview

A Survey of Alcohol Vulnerability of Male Prison Inmates in Nigeria


Chenube, Olufunke, Dosumu, Simeon, Omomoyesan, Mary, Omumu, Florence, Gender & Behaviour


Abstract

Alcohol and substance abuse has been linked with criminal behavior particularly recidivism.. Criminal recidivism is the act of re-offending or persistent involvement in criminal activities. The study investigated the effect of alcohol abuse on the recidivism risk levels, number of times convicted/imprisoned and nature of offence of prison inmates in Nigeria. The Self Appraisal Questionnaire (SAQ) was administered to 1200 inmates in six prisons across Nigeria. The results of the study revealed that alcohol/substance abuse has significant effect on the recidivism risk levels and the number of times convicted among inmates. However alcohol has no significant effect on the nature of inmates' offense. The study recommends the need for the Nigerian Prisons Service to commence programmes targeted towards treatment of alcohol/substance abuse,.

Keywords: alcohol, criminal recidivism, prison inmates.

Introduction

The incidence of crimes committed under the influence of alcohol is rising steadily, most violent crimes were thought to have involved alcohol. The British Medical Association reported that between 60 and 70 percent of all murders, 75% of stabbings ,70% of beatings, and 50% of fights and domestic assaults were committed by those under the influence of alcohol (Alcohol Crime,2010) Drug and alcohol abuse and addiction are implicated in the crimes and incarceration of 80 percent- some 1.4 million- of the 1.7 million men and women behind bars in America. (Behind bars, 1998) . In most studies like that of Quimet and LeBlanc (1996), Rice and Harris (1995) many of the offenders who repeatedly committed crimes had a history of drug use. The more chronic and serious the substance abuse problem, the more likely the person will reoffend and have an extensive criminal record

Many of the crime committed have their roots in alcohol and drug Glick,(1995) posited that more than half of all murderers and homicides are believed to be intoxicated during criminal acts. While about one-quarter of all suicides occur when the person is using alcohol. Alcohol is also frequently associated with the commission of many other criminal acts. Glick (1995) also reported previous studies that found out that four out of every ten assaults in the United States occur while the offender is intoxicated; almost half of all men arrested for rape were found to have a blood alcohol level of 10 or higher; and alcohol is involved in at least 29 percent of all other sex crimes. He concluded that there is a strong relationship between drug and alcohol abuse and violent and criminal behaviour. Loza, (1993) found relationship between substance abuse and crime. Also, Gendreua et al (1996) found a correlation between substance abuse and recidivism. Myner, Santman, Gordon 8c Permutter (1998) in their studies found that alcohol and drug abuse predict recidivism and they are major contributor to criminal behaviour. A report by American Bureau of Justice Statistics (1993), documented that 50% of prison inmates had used illegal drugs in the month before their offence 30% were under the influence of drugs at the time of the crime. Ge Donnellan and Wenk (2001) argued that adolescents who smoke, drink and use illicit drugs are more likely to commit delinquent acts compared to those who do not smoke, drink or use illicit drugs.

Martin, Bryant and Fitzgerald (2001) found in a sample of 27, 414 arrested that almost 95% of them reported that they have tried alcohol at some point during their lives; approximately 70% of the sample had also consumed alcohol 72 hours prior to their arrest and almost all reported the use of alcohol at the time of their offences. The link between alcohol and crime is not different in Nigeria. It is a common experience that criminals are always tiigh' as result of alcohol and drugs abuse during most of their criminal activities. Also during visits to some of the prisons in Nigeria, the researchers found that this trend of alcohol and drug abuse is still sustained. …

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