U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Prohibition, Alcohol, and Murder: Untangling Countervailing Mechanisms

NCJ Number
Homicide Studies Volume: 4 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2000 Pages: 18-36
Gary F. Jensen
Date Published
February 2000
19 pages
This article reports the results of a multivariate time series analysis of the links among Prohibition, alcohol use, and murder.
A common belief expressed in criminology and social problems textbooks is that Prohibition failed to lower alcohol consumption, compounded drinking-related problems, and escalated secondary problems such as murder. However, little or no research is cited in support of those claims. This article used statistics on homicide for the early 20th century to test three hypotheses: (1) Net of any effects of other variables, Prohibition is a significant negative correlate of alcohol consumption; (2) Net of the effects of other variables in the analysis, Prohibition is a significant positive correlate of homicide rates; and (3) Net of the effects of other variables in the analysis, alcohol consumption is a significant positive correlate of homicide rates. Variables included in the analysis were percent of the population in high-risk age groups, immigration, unemployment, and war. Findings were consistent with all three hypotheses. Figures, tables, references