Fifty-three percent of state inmates and 45 percent of federal inmates were abusing or were dependent on drugs in the year before their admission to prison, says a U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics report out today. That was one finding of the “Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities.” The survey has been conducted periodically since the 1970s; in 2004, it involved confidential personal interviews with a representative sample of about 14,500 state and 3,700 federal prisoners.
Methamphetamine use among state and federal prisoners in the month before their offense rose from 7 percent of state prisoners in 1997 to 11 percent in 2004. Some 28 percent of violent offenders in state prison committed their offense while under the influence of drugs; 10 percent said that the need to get money for drugs was a motive in their crimes. The report says that in 2004, 21 percent of state inmates and 55 percent of federal inmates were behind bars for drug violations.