Alcohol, drugs and crime : a study of juveniles in detention


The Australian Institute of Criminology has undertaken research into the
offending and drug use careers of adult males, females and juveniles
incarcerated in Australian prisons and detention centres. The objective of the
Drug Use Careers of Offenders (DUCO) project is to further understand the drug
use and criminal histories of incarcerated offenders and to contribute to the
empirical evidence on the link between drug use and crime. This monograph, the
third and final instalment in the DUCO project, examines the offending and drug
use histories of 371 young offenders incarcerated in juvenile detention centres
across Australia. The study confirms that juveniles in detention have extensive
offending and drug use histories, in terms of both violent and property crime,
and regularly use alcohol, cannabis and, to a lesser extent, amphetamines. The
study identifies various risk factors for drug use and offending and highlights
the need for a targeted approach to combat abuse, neglect and family drug use
earlier in a child's life, as well as to have effective programs that address
issues such as drug use, housing needs, skills development, individual and
family support for chronic young offenders.