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Substance Abuse and Crime in Texas: A Summary of Prison and Probation Surveys Conducted by the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Evaluations of the Texas Criminal Justice Treatment Initiative

NCJ Number
J C Maxwell
Date Published
32 pages
This report presents findings from prison and probation surveys conducted by the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse as well as evaluations of the Texas Criminal Justice Treatment Initiative conducted from 1988 through 1998.
The survey instrument has remained consistent for all the surveys done. It contains sections on the use of licit and illicit substance use, including lifetime and use in the past month while on the street, need for treatment, and criminal history. Surveys after 1988 included questions on family/peer relations, physical/mental health, demographics, and an additional set of questions that addressed issues specific to women. The surveys also included some exploratory questions to measure prevalence of gambling, perceptions of punishments, and motivation for substance abuse treatment. Findings show that in terms of substance use and treatment needs, 63 percent of prison inmates and 59 percent of probationers are either substance abusers or substance dependent, and the vast majority are unable to afford treatment. The criminal justice system may well be the best or only opportunity to provide the needed treatment. The studies have shown the close relationship between substance use and crime, especially substance dependence and crime. The questions on family background, childhood and adulthood abuse, mental health, gambling, and HIV risk all showed a marked relationship with substance abuse and dependence. The data show not only the relationship of chemical dependency and crime for females in the criminal justice system, but also that these women have special needs in terms of abuse, victimization, life skills, and physical health. Evaluations of the Criminal Justice Treatment Initiative show that substance abuse treatment has favorable outcomes in terms of lessening criminal activities and substance use, particularly if the in-prison and aftercare components are completed. Four substance use and crime prevalence tables are provided.


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