Drugs and crime : drug taking as a precursor to violent and property offending : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University
The aim of the present study was to investigate relationships between pre-offence drug use and offence type, using a sample of incarcerated New Zealand male offenders. Self-report data addressed drug (including alcohol) use in the 12 hours before the offence and in the month before the offence, motivation for offending, and causal attributions made by offenders, and a number of other variables. Half of the sample reported being under the influence of drugs while committing the offence for which they were incarcerated; over two-thirds of the sample had used drugs in the 12 hours before the offence. Most pre-offence users had used illegal drugs, or a combination of illegal drugs and alcohol. There was a non-significant relationship between pre-offence drug use and offence type. Violent offenders reported the lowest pre-offence drug use, and property offenders the highest, which did not support previous research reporting strong links between drug use prior to offending and violent offences. Fewer offenders reported that the reason for their offence was to obtain money for drugs than in U.S. studies. Problems and limitations in conducting research of this nature are addressed, and future research needs are identified, in particular the need for more information about the situation in which drug use and offending occurs. Implications of the present findings are also discussed.