Behind bars : substance abuse and America's prison population, Charles E. Culpepper Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. January, 1998.

Alcohol is more widely available and abused than illicit drugs like heroin, cocaine, or LSD. alcohol is implicated in most homicides arising from disputes or arguments (p. 8).

The number one substance offense is drunk driving (1996)

1.4 million arrests in 1995, 9% of all arrests

2.7 million arrests for alcohol related crimes, 18% of all arrests

708,100 arrests for drunkenness

594,900 liquor law violations

14% of all adults are addicted to alcohol at some time in their lives

10% the time of their arrest

73% of state prisoners regularly used drugs or have a history of alcohol abuse

In 1996:

868/100,000 adults in American prisons

100/100,000 adults in European prisons

47/100,000 adults in Japanese prisons

28% increase in spending to operate and build prisons

3% increase in Medicaid spending for the same period

From 1980-1996 the number of people in prison tripled due to criminal activity spawned by drug and alcohol abuse.

If this rate continues 1/20 American born in 1997 will spend time in prison

1/11 men

1/4 black men

130,000 females make up 7.7% but the rate is raising at twice the rate for males.

Drugs and alcohol lurk in the back ground for 80% of these women as well

--1.4 million men and women are in federal, state and local jails and prisons--this number is greater than the individual populations of 12 of the United States

--total inmates and parolees equals 5.5 million persons, a population larger than the city of Los Angeles (Escape From New York; Escape From Los Angeles)????????

--64% in mates ever used illegal drugs

--19% drug law convictions

-- 2% DUI

--48% under the influence of alcohol or drug when crime committed

--17% committed crime to pay for drugs

--29% have a history of alcohol abuse

These people are the parents of 2.4 million children, many of them are minors

3.8 million persons are on parole through federal, state, and local systems

Critical component is to get addicts and abusers into recovery

--cost $6,5000 per year for education, job training, and health care (CASA, p. 18)

--avoid incarceration would results in saving for health care costs, salary earned, taxes paid and contribution to the economy or $68,8000 (CASA, p.18-9)

--if only 10% are turned about, the treatment program is paid for

Reason for increase prison population is the crack down on illicit drugs and related activities

--1970 heroin

--1980 crack

--1990 meth?

alcohol and drug uses are most likely to be reincarcerated (p. 5)

Prison Portrait

80 % of inmates are substance abusers and addiction has shaped their lives and criminal histories, they have been regular drug users, have a history of alcohol abuse, committed crimes under the influence of alcohol and drugs, stole to get money to buy drugs, violated drug selling and possession laws, drove drunk, committed assaults, rapes, homicides and disorderly conduct offenses related to alcohol or drugs or some combination of the above.

--41% of first offender have used drugs regularly

--61% if inmates have 2 prior convictions

--81% of inmates have 5 or more convictions

--15% in state prisons have been physically or sexually abused

--61% in state prisons did not complete 4 years of high school

--36% in state prisons were unemployed in the month prior to their offense

--HIV/AIDS infection is 6 time higher than the general population

--35% in state prisons are white non-Hispanic men

--46% in state prisons are black non-Hispanic men

--16 % in state prisons are Hispanic men

--21% of state prison inmates are incarcerated for violent crimes under the influence of alcohol

--26% of violent crimes were committed under the influence of alcohol

--state officials estimate that 70-85% of inmates need substance abuse treatments by only 13% get it (p. 10)

Alcohol is the biggest culprit in connection with murder, rape, assault and child and spouse abuse than all illegal drugs, (p. 5-6)


--Females make up 7.7% of the prison populations; women are more likely drug law violators and drug and alcohol abusers or addicts

--40% ore likely to have suffered physical or sexual abuse

--104,000 are pregnant and their minor children lived with them before the offense

--Children of substance abusers are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol themselves

--40% of state and local prisoners are regular drug users and are more likely to have a family member who served prison time

--29% of state and federal prisons are smoke free

--some prisons provide cigarettes to indigent inmates

--some prisons provide free cigarettes to all inmates


Of the $38 billion spent on prisons and prisoners, $30 billion is spent on drug and alcohol abusers

1,436,000 DUI arrests were made in 1995; $5.2 billion is spent prosecuting them, exclusive of pretrial detentions and incarcerators.

Crime is down because of:

--mandatory sentencing and tougher drug laws


--# of prison inmates 8310, paroles and cost

--Iowa's prison population growing, being one of 4 states with prison growth, as opposed to other states

--# or higher education persons

--% of recidivism

--average age of prisoners

--prisons in Iowa smoke free?

--drug testing and evaluation?

--health evaluation for drugs, STD, HIV, and nutrition?

Domestic abuse and Child abuse

Higher taxes to reduce alcohol consumption and to pay for new programs

Crack down on bars, grocery, convenience stores who sell alcohol to minors

Make parent or friends of the underage persons responsible for their children

Institute policies for the state funded community colleges and universities to notify parents of drug and alcohol violations

Increase drunk driving fines


--end mandatory sentencing

--training in substance abuse and addition for police, prosecutors, judges, corrections personnel and parole officers

--careful assessment of offenders in order to identify those likely to benefit from treatment

--complementing drug and alcohol treatment with literacy and job training and health care including HIV prevention

--attending to the special needs of drug-and-alcohol abusing female inmates

--reform released offenders, treatment, aftercare, counseling and assistance in getting jobs and drug-free living arrangements

--use of sanctions and rewards to encourage substance-involved inmates in prison and after release to get and stay sober

--diversion of nonviolent drug-and-alcohol-abusing arrestees prior to trial

Additional Articles:

Kunitz, Stephen J.; Delaney, Harold D.; Layne, Larry J.; Wheeler, Denise R.; Rogers, Everett M.; Woodall, W. Gill; "Small-area variations in conviction rates for DWI: the significance of contextual variables in a southwestern state", ACCIDENT ANALYSIS & PREVENTION (2006), 38 (3): 600-609. Average annual rates (1999-2000) of people arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in each of New Mexico's 33 counties are described. Conviction rates vary from 58% to 95%. Rates are correlated with political conservatism, being higher were a higher proportion of voters voted for the republican presidential candidates, and with measures of crowing in the courts. Conviction rates are higher in rural areas than urban areas and are correlated with a low prevalence of alcohol-related problems in the population. The variance in conviction rates is higher in rural than urban areas, and higher were measures of court crowing are low.

The results show that political culture and the efficiency of court functioning are each independently associated with conviction rates for DWI and may also be associated in a reciprocal fashion with both low DWI arrest rates and alcohol-involved crash rates.

Rider, Raames; Kelley-Baker, Tara; Voas, Robert B.; Murphy, Bernard; McKnight, A. James; Levings, Charles; "The impact of a novel educational curriculum for first-time DUI offenders on intermediate outcomes relevant to DUI recidivism", ACCIDENT ANALYSIS & PREVENTION (2006), 38 (3): 482-489. The PREVENTING ALCOHOL-RELATED CONVICTIONS (PARC) program is a novel educational curriculum for first-time DUI offenders, with the ultimate goal of reducing DUI recidivism. It differs from traditional DUI education and prevention programs in that it does not suggest to DUI offenders that they must abstain from alcohol entirely or control their drinking to prevent a future DUI; rather, ti teaches students to prevent future DUI by not driving their cars to drinking events. Thus, the emphasis of the curriculum is on controlling driving rather than controlling drinking to avoid future DWI convictions. The program is ongoing throughout the state of Florida.


"Behind bars II: substance abuse and American's prison population", the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, Columbia University, February 2010.

Findings from the Executive Summary: This report provides an update of the work, finding that despite growing evidence of effective strategies to reduce the prevalence and costs of substance-involved offenders, the burden of substance misuse and addiction to our nation's criminal justice system actually has increased. Today 2.3 million adults are behind bars in America; 1.0 million are substance involved and almost two-thirds (64.5 percent) meet medical criteria for an alcohol or other drug use disorder.

Governments' continued failure to prevent and treat addiction actually increases crime and results in a staggering misuse of government funds; in 2005, federal state and local governments spent $74 billion in court, probation, parole and incarceration costs of adult and juvenile substance-involved offenders. in Comparison, federal and state governments spent only $632 million on prevention and treatment of them.

An overwhelming body of evidence exists documenting that substance use disorders are preventable and treatable health conditions, and that cost effective screening, intervention and treatment opinion are available that can be administered effectively through the criminal justice system. Implementing these options can save taxpayers mullions of dollars and reduce crime. Failure to do so makes no sense--particularly in this time of fiscal crisis.

To conduct this study, CASA analyzed data on inmates from 11 federal sources, reviewed more than 550- articles and other publications, examined best practices in prevention and treatment for substance-involved offenders, reviewed accreditation standards and analyzed costs and benefits of treatment.

"Substance-involved inmates on the rise"
Between 1996 and 2006, the U. S. population grew by 12.5 percent. While the percentage of adults incarcerated in federal, state and local correctional facilities grew by 32.8 percent during that period, the percentage of substance-involved offenders behind bars in America rose even more rapidly, by 43.2 percent.

Substance misuse and addition are key factors in the continuous growth of the U. S. inmate population. By 2006, a total of 2.3 million people--one of every 133 adult Americans--were behind bars; 84.8 percent of all inmates (1.9 million) were substance-involved; 86.2 percent of federal inmates (0.2 million), 84.6 percent of state inmates (1.1 million) and 84.7 percent of local jail inmates (0.6 million).

"Alcohol and Other Drug Use Is Implicated In All Types of Crime"
Substance misuse and addiction are overwhelming factors in all types of crime, not just alcohol and drug law violations. Thirty-seven percent of federal, state and local prison and jail inmates in 2006 were serving time for committing a violent crime as their controlling offense; these inmates, 77.5 percent were substance-involved. Those serving time for property crimes comprise 19.2 percent of the inmate population; 83.4 percent were substance-involved. Those whose controlling offense was a supervision violation offense, immigration offense or weapon offense comprise 13.3 percent of the inmate population; 76.9 percent were substance-involved.

"Alcohol Plays a Dominant Role; Few Incarcerated for Marijuana Possession Only"
Alcohol is implicated in the incarceration of over half (56.6 percent of all inmates in America. In addition to the inmates who were convicted of an alcohol law violation, 51.6 percent of drug law violators, 55.9 percent of those who committed a property crime, 57.7 percent of inmates who committed a violent crime, and 52.0 percent of those who committed other crimes were wither under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crime, or had a history of alcohol treatment or had an alcohol use disorder.

"Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders"
Substance use disorders among inmates are at epidemic proportions. Almost two-thirds (64.5 percent of the inmate population in the U. S. (1.5 million) meet medical criteria for an alcohol or other drug use disorder. Prison and jail inmates are seven times likelier than are individuals in the general population to have a substance use disorder. One-third (32.9 percent) or the 2.3 million prison and jail inmates has a diagnosis of a mental illness. A quater (24.4 percent) of prison and jail inmates has both a substance use disorder and a co-occurring mental health problem.

Female inmates make up 8.4 percent of the total inmate population--up from 7.7 percent in 1996. Women inmates are somewhat likelier to have a substance use disorder than are male inmates (66.1 percent vs 64.3 percent) and significantly more likely to have co-occurring mental health disorders (46.5 percent vs 22.9 percent). These co-occurring conditions are linked to the fact that female inmates are more than seven times likelier to have been sexually abused and almost four time likelier to have been physically abused before incarceration than male inmates.

CASA--Behind Bars and Behind Bars II search the library for the Behind Bars reports

updated 12/12/16