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Background and Methods
Tracking Vulnerability and Resilience: Gambling Careers in the Criminal Justice System emerged from 2 earlier studies:
1. An ESRC Research Seminar - International Transformations: Preventing UK Gambling Harm
For more information download:
2. A pilot study OffGam (Offender Problem Gambling Reduction Programme)
For more information download a PowerPoint Presentation about OffGam.
Why Prison Populations?
Internationally, incarcerated offenders are known to have higher rates of problem gambling. Studies have found that up to one third of prisoners may be medium or high-risk problem gamblers. Drug and alcohol problems and mental health issues are also prevalent amongst offenders in prison.
OffGam confirmed that between a quarter and a third of prisoners experienced gambling-related problems and 13% to 16% admitted to committing gambling-related offences including violence (resulting from arguments about gambling) and drug dealing (as a source of revenue for gambling).
The study has surveyed over 1000 inmates across England and Scotland, measuring their scores for problem gambling, physical and mental health and resilience. With consent, their scores have been cross-referenced with their criminal career history through the Police National Computer (PNC). This way the team will know exactly what type of known offences they commit and how often.
Offenders have also agreed to in-depth interviews before and after they leave prison. This will enable people to tell their story, about gambling as children and adults, their offending, drug use, health and anything else they consider relevant.
The aim of the interviews is to get a deeper understanding of the connections between crime and problem gambling, and the interaction of these with mental health problems, substance misuse and patterns of resilience.
Resilience is a term often associated with child welfare but has only recently started to be applied to adults and communities (such as prisons) so the team has developed a new tool for measuring adult resilience in collaboration with the International Resilience Project at Dalhousie University, Canada. This was presented at the Pathways to Resilience Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia in June 2010. For more information download TVRGC: Tracking Vulnerability & Resilience in Gambling Crime Careers (ppt).
Ultimately, we hope to be able to identify points of potential intervention so that services can be developed to reduce problematic gambling behaviour among prisoners and ex-offenders. Findings will be disseminated to academic, policy and practice audiences.
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