2nd March 2009

Research on young male offenders violence and alcohol has today been published by the Scottish Prison Service.  The research involved surveys abtout young offenders’ drinking conducted in 1979, 1996 and 2007  and in-depth interviews conducted in 2008.   The proportion who considered that alcohol had contributed to their previous offending rose from 47.9% in 1979 to 79.6% in 2007.  The interviews with inmates at Polmont Young Offenders Institute found that 80% of the young offenders who had used a knife to injure someone in 2007 blamed alcohol and one quarter were under the influence of diazepam. Very few of the young offenders going into prison blamed drugs for their crimes but they increasingly claimed the problem is due to drinking. Offenders were far more likely to carry weapons and be more violent when drunk.

  SCCJR’s Alasdair Forsyth worked on the project with Willam McKinlay (governor of Barlinnie prison) andFurzana Khan (Glasgow Centre for the Study of Violence, Glasgow Caledonian University)

  Further details of the research will shortly be available here.  An article about the work published in the Herald can be found at http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/news/display.var.2492111.0.Plan_to_raise_drinking_age_will_not_curb_youth_violence_says_study.php