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54% of Jail Inmates Drank Alcohol Before Committing Violent Crimes

Associated Press

More than half of jail inmates convicted of violent crimes had been drinking before committing the offenses, the Justice Department said Sunday in a study of alcohol’s role in fueling crime.

Altogether, 54% of 32,112 people convicted of violent crimes had been drinking, a report by the department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics said.

For all crimes, including nonviolent offenses, burglary and public disorder, 48% of the convicted inmates had been using alcohol before committing the offense.

Nearly seven out of 10 people convicted of manslaughter had been drinking before the offense, and 62% of those convicted of assault had been drinking. The survey found that 49% of those convicted of murder or attempted murder had been drinking.

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The survey also found:

--At least 80% of the inmates had a prior criminal conviction, and about two-thirds of them had served time in another jail or prison.

--Ninety-three percent of the 5,785 inmates were men, and blacks, who constituted 12% of the general population in 1983, made up 39% of the jail inmate population.


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