EKU Faculty and Staff Scholarship


Drug Use and Abuse as Primary Motivators for Involvement in Burglary: A Comparison of Self-Reported Differences Among a Random Sample of Male and Female Burglars


Justice Studies

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This study explores substance use as a primary motivator of persistent involvement in burglary among male and female burglars. A self-administered survey instrument was disseminated to a random sample of male and female incarcerated burglars across 12 minimum, medium, and maximum security correctional institutions in three states. A total of 422 inmates completed the survey, 147 of whom were persistent female burglars. Female burglars reported more prior and recent drug use preceding the arrest that resulted in their imprisonment, and female involvement in burglary was primarily motivated by drug use. Early involvement in burglary was a predictor of extent of burglary involvement for women and burglary arrests for men. Female burglars may actually be more involved in substance use than male burglars but are not arrested as often. Efforts to reduce burglary should emphasize substance abuse treatment for both male and female offenders, although the type of treatment should differ.

Journal Title

Journal of Drug Issues