Substance Use Patterns of Young Offenders and Violent Crime

C. J. Lennings*, J. Copeland, J. Howard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The use of alcohol is a significant predictor of the involvement of young offenders in violent crime. This study found that in a sample of 300 incarcerated juveniles in NSW more than 70% admitted to violent crime. Detainees from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture were less likely than other detainees to be involved in violent crime. The substances most associated with violent crime were alcohol, followed by cocaine. However, when the likelihood that the young person has initiated violence as a response to alcohol or other substances is introduced into the equation, the direct effects for alcohol and cocaine predicting engagement in violent crime disappear. The Goldstein hypothesis that the effects of a substance directly facilitate violence, thereby accounting for the relationship between substances of use and violent crime, was supported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-422
Number of pages9
JournalAggressive Behavior
Volume29
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Substance abuse
  • Violent crime
  • Young offenders

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