Being able to access treatment for addictions is a crucial factor in helping to prevent criminal activity and rehabilitate criminal offenders.
Criminal offences are often committed when the perpetrator is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The U.S. Department of Justice reported that in 1997, 33% of State prisoners committed their current offence while under the influence of drugs, and 51% committed their offence while under the influence of alcohol. The American study also found that one in four people convicted of property and drug offences had committed the crime in order to get money for drugs.1
Substance abuse is closely linked with other risk factors for crime, such as heightened aggression and involvement with "anti-social" groups, so this factor may be best addressed alongside other risk factors.2
Yet addiction treatment programs are often unavailable, especially for youth. At a roundtable on crime prevention facilitated by the CCSD in Saskatoon, frontline workers repeatedly pointed out that there was no detoxification centre for youth in the city, even though addictions is a serious problem among young offenders in the city. In Canada, where the Youth Criminal Justice Act specifies that non-violent offenders must be sent to appropriate treatment, this is a serious shortfall.
Other Social Interventions
Early Childhood Education
Special Needs Programming
1Sabo, Russell. Factors Affecting Saskatoon's Crime Rates. Report to the Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners, 2003. Refers to U.S. Department of Justice statistics. See www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/dcf/duc.htm
2Waller, I. and Weiler, D. Crime Prevention through Social Development. Ottawa: Canadian Council on Social Development, 1984.