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Incapacitation of Criminal Opiate Users

NCJ Number
Crime & Delinquency Volume: 44 Issue: 2 Dated: (April 1998) Pages: 205-228
Date Published
24 pages

This article reports on a study of the effect on crime prevention of criminal opiate users' incapacitation.


Incapacitation refers to the prevention of crimes against the public at large accomplished by restraining prospective offenders, usually by imprisonment. This study used data on daily self-reported criminality for 201 adult opiate users to ascertain the predictability of high levels of criminal law violation. Estimates of regression parameters for criminality were used to determine the efficiency and false-positive ratios that would be obtained were a policy of selective incapacitation based on these predictions to be adopted for this or similar populations of illegal drug users. The study's prediction equations identified a substantial majority of the high-frequency offenders, but were less successful at distinguishing the high-frequency offenders from the others. The study disclosed a low level of crime-specific stability of involvement, which poses problems for incapacitation policies directed at specific offenses. Tables, references

Date Published: January 1, 1998