College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Drunkenness, A ‘Special Circumstance’ In Crimes of Violence: Sometimes

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1975

Keywords

Alcoholic Intoxication, Alcoholism Complications, Criminal Psychology, Forensic Psychiatry, Jurisprudence, Public Opinion, Sex Factors, Violence

Publication Title

International Journal of the Addictions

ISSN

0020-773X

Volume

10

Issue/No.

5

Abstract

A preliminary investigation into belief systems of the public about interactions between drunkenness and crime is reported. Fifty respondents, randomly selected, were interviewed first about their beliefs regarding the “effects of alcohol” along three dimensions–control, responsibility, and accountability. Second, they were asked to consider whether being legally drunk when committing a violent crime constitutes a “special circumstance” deserving other than the usual penalty. Three other possible contributing factors were also examined to determine their relationship to drunkenness as a “special circumstance”—premeditation, alcoholism, and recidivism. Two preliminary conclusions are suggested: (1) it appears that many members of the public still view alcohol abuse as an associated criminal offense, and (2) respondents' beliefs about the “effects of alcohol do not demonstrate a rational consistency as relates to penalty judgments concerning violent crimes committed by drunken individuals. This finding is, in part, consistent with Linsky's earlier work.

DOI

10.3109/10826087509027345

ResearchID/ORCID ID

0000-0001-7705-3993

Peer Reviewed

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