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. Link to the article
Citation: Lelonek-Kuleta, B. (2020). Gambling in prisons – A nationwide Polish study of sentenced men. Journal of Gambling Issues, 44. Retrieved from Google Scholar.