The first national survey of Americans on probation found that almost half were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when they committed their crimes.
The research showed that 46.8 percent of probationers had used either alcohol, drugs or both at the time of their offense, the Justice Department reported Sunday.This was lower than use among incarcerated criminals at the time of their offenses, according to the survey, conducted for the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Among jail inmates, 60 percent had used alcohol, drugs or both when they committed their crimes; among state prison inmates, the figure was 49 percent.
Alcohol consumption was more prevalent than use of illegal drugs.
Among probationers, 40 percent had consumed alcohol when they committed their crimes and 14 percent used drugs. Probationers who used alcohol along with drugs are counted in both the separate alcohol and drug percentages, which accounts for those two figures totaling more than the combined percentage.
The number of probationers consuming alcohol at the time of their offense was comparable to that of jail inmates, 41 percent, but higher than that of state prisoners, 32 percent.
But drug use by probationers during their crime was far below the figures for jail inmates, 32 percent, or state prisoners, 36 percent.
The most commonly used drug was marijuana. Among all probationers, 67 percent said they had used marijuana or hashish at least once in their lives, 31 percent had used crack or other forms of cocaine, 25 percent had taken stimulants, 20 percent hallucinogens, 15 percent barbiturates and 8 percent heroin or other opiates.
Among all probationers, 35 percent admitted they had at least once consumed as much as a fifth of a gallon of alcohol in one day. That is the equivalent of 20 drinks of liquor, three six-packs of beer or three bottles of wine.
Slightly more than half of all probationers said they had been involved in a domestic dispute while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both at some time in their lives. Sixty-four percent admitted driving a vehicle under the influence of either or both.