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October 1976

About Alcoholism - Alcoholism Information, Research and Treatment

Prison Survey

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More than 40% of male inmates at a New York City detention center had been drinking immediately prior to their arrest, and 33% were daily drinkers, according to the result of a survey conducted by the prison health services.

One-third of the 1,007 inmates admitted [during one month] to the Rikers Island House of Detention for Men were questioned about their drinking habits. According to psychologist Frank Johnson, the survey was a random sample to determine the extent of alcohol problems as a justification for establishing an alcoholism program at the institution.

Those interviewed had committed offenses ranging from probation violation to murder. None had been booked for public intoxication, or other drunkenness charges, and none of the inmates referred for detoxification were surveyed.

Of the 308 inmates surveyed, 77% reported some drinking. The following information was reported by those who were drinkers: 23% had been arrested at least once for public intoxication; 93% had been drunk at least once; 43% had been told by someone that they drank too much.

Mr. Johnson reported that of those who felt they had a drinking problem, 44% wanted information about alcoholism and 20% wanted to be in a treatment program.

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