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Alcohol and Crime

NCJ Number
Gavin Dingwall
Date Published
224 pages
This book examines the connection between alcohol and crime in general and specifically in British society, followed by a discussion of how the criminal justice system responds to this connection.
Chapter 1 provides an overview of drinking patterns in the United Kingdom, followed by a chapter that reviews some significant research studies that have considered the extent to which offenders drink prior to offending. Chapter 3 considers possible ways in which the consumption of alcohol may increase the likelihood that a person will offend, followed by a discussion of some of the methodological problems associated with attempting to establish a causal link between alcohol consumption and criminal behavior. The fourth chapter reviews strategies for preventing and policing alcohol-related crime and disorder; and two chapters critique the legal response to alcohol-inducted offending in Great Britain. One of the chapters addresses substantive criminal liability, and the other focuses on sentencing. The concluding chapter considers the government's recent strategy for countering crimes that are committed while the offender is intoxicated, and areas for improvement are noted. The core strategy is reflected in the Licensing Act 2003, which combines increased punishment related to factors that precipitate alcohol-related crime with prevention measures. A multidisciplinary approach is emphasized at the local level, as local governments, the police, health professionals, the alcohol industry, and local communities play a role in countering alcohol-induced crime and disorders. In terms of societal attitudes that underlie problem drinking, the focus is on changing the common view that binge and underage drinking are socially acceptable. The author recommends constructing an offense that would apply only in those cases when intoxication during the charged offense was so extreme that the required criminal intent could not be proved. The offense would ensure that such offenders are punished regardless of intent. 466 references and a subject index