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Response Bias in Screening County Jail Inmates for Addictions

NCJ Number
Journal of Drug Issues Volume: 41 Issue: 1 Dated: Winter 2011 Pages: 117-134
Steven L. Proctor; Norman G. Hoffmann; Caleb J. Corwin
Date Published
18 pages
This study explored the accuracy of inmates' responses on an addiction screen used during standard classification procedures in a county jail.
Despite the value of accurately identifying inmates with substance use disorders, little attention has been given to response bias in routine screening. Although individuals with likely substance use disorders are contributing to overcrowding and increased incarceration costs in correctional system, a lack of accurate routine screening precludes the efficient implementation of programs to address these conditions and thereby reduce criminal recidivism. The UNCOPE screen for addictions, validated on arrestee and prison populations, was used to determine risk for substance dependence. Results indicated that inmates significantly underreported their substance use issues on the addiction screen when administered by a correctional officer, but were much more candid when interviewed by an individual not identified as a law enforcement or correctional officer. Recommendations for accurate routine screening are provided. (Published Abstract)


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