Problem gambling inside and out: The assessment of community and institutional problem gambling in the Canadian correctional system

Abstract

This paper reports on the results of a multi-site survey of gambling behaviour and gambling problems amongst offenders in correctional institutions in Ontario, Canada, conducted between 2008 and 2011. A total of 422 (completion rate 61.5 %) incarcerated offenders (381 male and 41 female) took part in the study including 301 federal offenders and 121 provincial offenders. Based on the Problem Gambling Severity Index of the Canadian Problem Gambling Index (CPGI/PGSI) the prevalence rate of severe problem gambling was 8.9 prior to incarceration and 4.4 % during incarceration. These numbers are substantially higher than rates found among the general public. Thirty-four percent of the sample reported gambling in prison. Half of those who suffered from gambling problems before incarceration continued to have gambling problems during incarceration. People with problems related to slot machines prior to incarceration reported fewer gambling problems during incarceration compared to other problem gamblers.

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