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Drug-Related Crime

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Title: Drug-Related Crime


1
Drug-Related Crime
  • Trevor Bennett
  • University of Glamorgan

2
Definition
  • What is drug-related crime?

3
Definition
  • The term was first introduced in a government
    policy document in 1994 and was defined as...
  • not only the offence of supply and possession
    of illegal drugs but also other criminal activity
    directly or indirectly associated with drug
    misuse
  • Home Office (1994) Tackling Drugs Together A
    Consultation Document on a Strategy for England
    1995-98. London HMSO

4
Definition
  • The definition was elaborated in a follow-up
    document published in 1995
  • Home Office (1995) Tackling Drugs Together A
    Strategy for England 1995-1998. London HMSO.
  • In this it was stated that drug-related crime
    included all offences committed under the Misuse
    of Drugs Act 1971 and offences committed by
    persons acting as a consequence of drug misuse.
  • These included crimes directly connected to drug
    use such as burglary and theft and crimes
    indirectly connected such as laundering of
    profits of drug sales and systemic crimes
    associated with drug trafficking.

5
Definition
  • These definitions identify 3 types of drug crime.
  • Drug offences which refer to crimes covered by
    drug legislation (e.g. drug supply and
    possession)
  • Offences committed by persons acting as a
    consequence of drug misuse (e.g. burglary and
    theft)
  • Systemic crimes which refer to offences
    indirectly caused by drug use (e.g. money
    laundering and drug trafficking)

6
Definition
  • These 3 types can also be found in the definition
    proposed by the European Monitoring Centre for
    Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) in 2003

7
Definition
  • The official definitions are fairly clear
  • But the term drug-related crime is sometimes
    used in different ways

8
Definition
  • The Home Office 2007 consultation paper reported
    that drug-related crime was decreasing and used
    as evidence the number of acquisitive crimes
  • Home Office (2007) Drugs Our Community, Your
    Say A Consultation Paper. London Home Office.
  • Drug-related crime is falling recorded
    acquisitive crime has fallen by 20 per cent since
    the introduction of the Drug Interventions
    Programme
  • This equates drug-related crime with the second
    category of offences committed as a consequence
    of drug use

9
Definition
  • It might help if some agreed terms were developed
    that covered the three types of offences
    individually and as a group

10
Definition
  • A second problem is whether the second type of
    drug-related crime refers to a causal
    connection
  • The early Tackling Drug Misuse documents
    suggested a causal connection in the phrases...
  • offences committed by persons acting as a
    consequence of drug misuse
  • These included crimes directly connected to drug
    use such as burglary and theft

11
Definition
  • This was also suggested in the 2003 definition
    proposed by the European Monitoring Centre for
    Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)

12
Definition
  • It seems clear from these definitions that the
    second type of drug-related crime requires a
    causal connection between drug use and crime
  • This would prove quite challenging when it comes
    to measuring drug-related crime
  • Not all acquisitive crime will be connected to
    drug use
  • Not all crimes committed by drug users will be
    connected to their drug use
  • In order to measure drug-related crime it would
    be necessary to know the motivation for it

13
Research on drug-related crime
  • It might be useful to consider the research
    implications connected to this discussion
  • One implication is that more needs to be known
    about the causal connection between drug use and
    crime

14
Research on drug-related crime
  • This is the conclusion that has been reached
    among policy makers in the United States
  • In 2001 the US National Institute of Justice
    established a forum for researchers to propose a
    drugs and crime research agenda for the 21st
    century
  • BROWNSTEIN, H. and CROSLAND, C. (2003), Toward a
    Drugs and Crime Research Agenda for the 21st
    Century. National Institute of Justice, U.S.
    Department of Justice. Washington, DC.
  • One of the aims of the forum was to discuss the
    usefulness of Goldsteins tripartite conceptual
    framework for explaining drug-related crime

15
Research on drug-related crime
  • Goldsteins conceptual framework divided
    explanations of the connection into three
    groups...
  • Economic-compulsive crime was committed as a
    means of generating money to support drug use.
  • Psychopharmacological crime occurred when the
    use of drugs resulted in change or impairment in
    cognitive functioning.
  • Systemic crime was associated with crime that
    occurred as part of the system of drug
    distribution and use.
  • Goldstein, P. (1985), The Drugs/Violence Nexus
    A Tripartite Conceptual Framework, Journal of
    Drug Issues, 15 493-506.

16
Research on drug-related crime
  • There have been some criticisms of this framework
  • One is that the tripartite categories are not
    mutually exclusive (e.g. systemic crimes might
    also be economically motivated)
  • Another is that the systemic model is not
    applicable to the majority of young drug users
    who are not involved in the high-level drug
    distribution system (i.e. systemic crimes).

17
Research on drug-related crime
  • One of the conclusions of the NIJ forum was that
    Goldsteins framework needed to be updated.
  • In particular more needed to be known about...
  • the causal connection between drug use and crime
  • how it varied across drug types and offence types
  • how it varied across demographic factors

18
Research on drug-related crime
  • A couple of years ago Katy Holloway and I began
    some unfunded interview-based research on the
    causal connection between drug use and crime.
  • The aim of the research was to describe and
    explain the various mechanisms that linked drug
    use and crime.
  • This results of this have just been published.
  • Bennett, T. H. and Holloway, K. (2009) The
    causal connection between drug use and crime.
    British Journal of Criminology. doi
    10.1093/bjc/azp014. (Advanced access April 2009).

19
Research on drug-related crime
  • The research was conducted in three prisons (2 in
    Wales and 1 in England)
  • In two prisons, respondents were selected from
    within the CARAT scheme.
  • In the third prison, respondents were selected
    from a particular wing.
  • In total, we interviewed 41 prisoners.
  • The respondents were all males with an age range
    of 22 to 56.
  • Their main offences were drug offences, assault
    and robbery
  • The main method of data collection was a
    semi-structured interview.
  • Offenders were asked to describe some of their
    connections in detail.
  • In total, 133 detailed narratives of specific
    drug-crime connections were identified and
    analysed.

20
Research on drug-related crime
  • The first thing we did was to ask offenders
    whether any of ten drug types and ten crime types
    have ever been connected.
  • The most common connections reported were heroin
    and drug dealing, burglary dwelling and handling

21
Research on drug-related crime
  • We then asked them to describe (up to three)
    specific occasions when their drug use and crime
    were connected
  • In total we transcribed 133 narratives of
    specific drug-crime connections
  • These were grouped initially into Goldsteins
    three categories
  • These were then adjusted or expanded until all
    narratives would be categorised

22
Research on drug-related crime
  • The main change to Goldsteins framework was to
    replace the systemic crime category with a
    lifestyles category
  • This was because it was not only drug lifestyle
    factors that influenced the connection
  • It was also influenced by crime lifestyle factors
    as well as cultural factors

23
Results
24
Research on drug-related crime
  • Economic mechanisms
  • Obtaining drugs directly
  • I decided if I was going to still take heroin
    Id either always have it or I wouldnt take it
    no more. So I decided to start dealing it. (085)
  • Saving legal money for drugs
  • Most of my shoplifting is around, I would say,
    clothes. I could be out shopping and Ill take
    something. I might spend two, three hundred pound
    and steal a hundred pound. ... the money I save
    not buying, that goes back into my drugs. (018)

25
Research on drug-related crime
  • Economic mechanisms
  • Most frequently mentioned
  • Drug dealing (85)
  • Shoplifting (74)
  • Robbery (71)
  • Least frequently mentioned
  • Handling (33)
  • Assault (0)

26
Research on drug-related crime
  • Pharmacological mechanisms
  • Aggression
  • ...with ecstasy Im just violent if someone
    winds me up. Its a very different head on.
    Different drug. Ecstasy is a bad choice for
    violence. (026)
  • Courage to offend
  • Pretty much when I used to take loads of valium,
    it used to make me feel invincible and I would
    just go and starts robbing just for the fact that
    I thought I could and Id get away with it ... I
    thought I was invisible and no one would see me.
    (004)

27
Research on drug-related crime
  • Pharmacological mechanisms
  • Most frequently mentioned
  • Assault (91)
  • Burglary dwelling (46)
  • Least frequently mentioned
  • Drug dealing (12)
  • Handling (0)

28
Research on drug-related crime
  • Lifestyle mechanisms
  • Criminal contacts
  • you get to know the people, coz its all
    related around that sort of thing init know what
    I mean, drugs and crime and all that (035)
  • Offended for treatment
  • I was drinking and doing drugs, I had become
    homeless, I had lost everything. And I couldnt
    see no way out. ... I had heard through you know
    other people, that if you go through prison they
    have to give you a place when you get out. So, I
    done it on purpose really. (028)

29
Research on drug-related crime
  • Lifestyle mechanisms
  • Most frequently mentioned
  • Handling (67)
  • Least frequently mentioned
  • Burglary (0)
  • Robbery (0)
  • Shoplifting (0)

30
Conclusion
  • Goldsteins categories stood up fairly well
    across a range of offence and drug types
  • But...
  • The systemic category was too narrow
  • The lack of causal direction was limiting
  • The absence of more detailed category breakdowns
  • The absence of crime breakdowns
  • The absence of demographic breakdowns

31
Conclusion
  • In order to understand drug-related crime there
    is a need for more research on...
  • the nature of the causal relationship
  • the mechanisms linking drug use and crime
  • It is likely that ...
  • there are many more causal mechanisms linking
    drug use and crime
  • there is variation in the mechanisms across
    location and time
  • there is variation by drug and crime types
  • there is variation by demographic factors.

32
Conclusion
  • End!
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