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Jailing Traffic and DUI Offenders: Trends From 1972-1983

NCJ Number
Ralph A. Weisheit; John M. Klofas Ph.D.
Date Published
February 1990
90 pages
This study examined data from 1972-1983 to determine the extent to which offenders charged with a driving under the influence (DUI) offense were a unique and naïve jail population.
Results from the analysis of three separate surveys of jail inmates (1972, 1978, and 1983) found that: traffic offenders, including offenders charged for driving under the influence (DUI) were older and more likely to be White; were tied more closely to social institutions such as being married and employed full-time; reported greater quantity and frequency of alcohol use, but less likely to have used illegal drugs; and more likely to have a history of drinking or traffic offenses. The intent of this study was to examine the extent to which offenders jailed for DUI offenses could be considered a unique and naïve jail population and thus likely targets for victimization while in jail. Data for study were obtained by analyzing interview data from three national surveys of jail inmates (1972, 1978, and 1983). The analysis shows that traffic offenders, and in particular DUI offenders, are a large population within the Nation's jails and that they consistently differ from other jail inmates on demographic characteristics, alcohol and drug use, and criminal history. The findings also indicate, however, that while traffic and DUI offenders constitute a separate population, they should not be considered naïve and innocent in regards to their experiences with the legal system and with jail. Implications for future research are discussed. Tables and appendixes