Gambling in Prisons – A Nationwide Polish Study of Sentenced Men
Keywords:problem gambling, illegal, crime, prevalence, incarceration
Despite the abandonment of the criterion of committing illegal acts in the diagnosis of pathological gambling in fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), research confirms the significant link between crime, gambling, and gambling addiction. In Poland, this connection is observed by psychologists working in the prison service, who simultaneously report the need for more structured interactions that would solve gambling problems among prisoners. The lack of any data on the involvement of persons committing crimes in gambling in Poland formed the basis for the implementation of a survey of gambling behaviour and gambling problems among male offenders in Polish correctional institutions. A total of 1,219 sentenced men took part in the study. The research tool included 75 questions, including queries from the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS). Based on SOGS, the prevalence rate of severe problem gambling was 29.4% over the lifetimes of the prisoners. As many as 13.1% of respondents admitted to having gambled in prison. This activity usually involved cards, bets or dice. More than 74% of incarcerated men who gambled in prison met the criteria for pathological gambling. Prisoners who gambled more in prison than at liberty made up 27.7%. As many as 69.3% of respondents declared that while in prison, they had met fellow convicts experiencing problems because of gambling. The study shows that criminals continue gambling after detention, especially those who are problem gamblers, an overall finding which implies the need to implement preventive and therapeutic interventions in correctional institutions.
Malgré l’abandon du critère d’actes illégaux dans le diagnostic du jeu pathologique, dans la cinquième édition du Manuel diagnostique et statistique des troubles mentaux (DSM-V), la recherche confirme le lien important entre criminalité, jeu et dépendance. En Pologne, ce lien est observé par des psychologues travaillant dans le service pénitentiaire, signalant en même temps le besoin d’interactions plus structurées qui résoudraient les problèmes de jeu chez les détenus. L’absence de données sur la participation de personnes commettant des délits aux jeux d’argent en Pologne a servi de base à la mise en œuvre d’une enquête sur les comportements et les problèmes de jeu chez les délinquants de sexe masculin dans les établissements correctionnels polonais. Au total, 1 219 prisonniers ont participé à l’étude. L’outil de recherche comprenait 75 questions, dont des questions tirées du South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS). Selon le SOGS, le taux de prévalence du jeu problématique sévère était de 29,4 % au cours de la vie des détenus. Jusqu’à 13,1 % des répondants ont reconnu avoir joué en prison. Les jeux comprenaient généralement des cartes, des paris ou des dés. Plus de 74 % des hommes incarcérés qui ont joué en prison répondaient aux critères de jeu pathologique. Les détenus qui jouaient plus en prison qu’en liberté représentaient 27,7 %. Jusqu’à 69,3 % des répondants ont déclaré qu’en prison, ils ont rencontré des personnes éprouvant des problèmes de jeu. L’étude montre que les criminels continuent de jouer après la détention, en particulier ceux qui sont des joueurs compulsifs, ce qui laisse entrevoir la nécessité de mettre en œuvre des interventions préventives et thérapeutiques dans les établissements correctionnels.
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