Substance Use Disorders Among State and Federal Prisoners

BJS Survey on Alcohol and Drug Use of Prison Inmates


According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), 30% of state and federal prisoners reported drinking alcohol at the time of the offense and 38% reported using drugs. Additionally, 64% of state and federal prisoners admitted to using at least one drug in the 30 days prior to their arrest. 

Substance use disorders among state and federal prisoners are widespread. Nearly half of state and federal prisoners had a diagnosable substance use disorder present within the 12 months leading up to their arrest. 

Combatting Substance Use Disorders in the Courts

Despite these statistics, for years little was being done to combat substance use disorders. Today, however, there are more options for individuals who may have a diagnosable substance use disorder. For instance, judges may be more willing to consider jail alternatives if there is substance use disorder treatment or if an individual agrees to submit to drug and alcohol testing.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, you need to discuss your legal options with an attorney. In some cases, you may have court-ordered conditions of release or sentencing. You must comply with all court orders. 

Proactive Solutions for Substance Use Disorders

Some of the proactive options that a person may consider if they have a substance use disorder may be to submit to continuous alcohol monitoring through a SCRAM CAM bracelet. The device is worn 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure that there is no drinking during the monitoring period. The ankle bracelet can be paired with optional house arrest to complete alcohol and location monitoring with a single device.

If a person is addicted to drugs, the drug patch is a good way to ensure accountability and may help to deter further use. The drug patch is non-invasive and requires no urine or hair follicle samples.