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Solutions to the Problem Gambling and Crime Connection. Henry R. Lesieur, Ph.D. Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital. Crime Rates Among Pathological Gamblers. GA & treatment Studies -- 50-67% Helpline Study of Problem Gamblers -- 20% admitted crime and 11.5% arrested

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Solutions to the Problem Gambling and Crime Connection

Henry R. Lesieur, Ph.D.

Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital


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Crime Rates Among Pathological Gamblers

  • GA & treatment Studies -- 50-67%

  • Helpline Study of Problem Gamblers -- 20% admitted crime and 11.5% arrested

  • NORC study -- general population -- 32% of PGs arrested for any crime



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Crime Types Among Pathological Gamblers

  • Forgery, Fraud, Theft, Embezzlement

  • Tax violations (fraud & evasion)

  • Illegal Gambling operation

  • Less common: Burglary, Armed robbery, Drug Sales, Fencing Stolen Goods, Prostitution, Extortion


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Psychologist as Expert Witness

  • Reviews Materials from Court

  • Interviews Offender and others

  • Evaluates Mental Status

  • Evaluates for Mental Disorders

  • Conducts Psychological Tests

  • Writes Report


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Psychologist as Expert Witness - 2

  • Examines issues not covered by pre-sentence investigation

  • -- Emotional Issues

  • -- Family Dysfunction

  • -- Co-occurring Disorders

  • -- Coping Skills


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Psychologist as Expert Witness - 3

  • Examines work history (positives as well as negatives)

  • Social supports

  • Gambling Progression

  • Cognitive Distortions

  • Personality Disorder (especially ASPD)


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Action/Escape Phase

  • ACTION -- become involved; good at it; exciting; early success; bolster self-esteem by gambling; wins=internally produced; losses=externally produced

  • ESCAPE -- gambling to escape from problems, loneliness, depression, anxiety, trauma; gambling = time out, time away from problems


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Losing/Chasing Phase

  • ACTION gambler finds losing intolerable; CHASE after bad beats & serious losses

  • ESCAPE gambler finds “time out” is expensive

  • BOTH use up options for obtaining money as their involvement increases

  • New Money = Big Win


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Cycles in the Spiral ofOptions and Involvement

1. Get Money

2. “Moving,” “Manipulating,”

or “Juggling” Money

3. Tightening of Resources

(Closure) and Need to

Make Moral Decision


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Desperation Phase

  • Job & Family Disaster Areas

  • Illegal Activities (CG Spiral)

  • Obsession with Getting Out of Trouble Overtakes Excitement

  • Escapes into Gambling Yet No Relief

  • Serious bouts with Depression

  • Suicide Attempts


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Hopeless Phase

  • Getting Even Not

    Possible

  • No Longer Care

  • Know They Will Lose

  • Continual State of Depression

  • Playing for Action is All That Matters


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Considerations Before Turning To Crime

1. Opportunity

2. External Agents of Social Control

(Police, Family)

3. Beliefs & Justifications

4. Closing of Available Options

5. Threat (to self-esteem, financial threat,

Physical threat)


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CRIME AND STRESS

  • Stress of Gambling

  • Stress of Financial Pressures

  • Stress of Impact on Family

  • Work-related Stress

  • Produce: Anxiety, Depression, and Cognitive Distortions that Impair Judgment and Decision-Making


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Moral Justifications and Illegal Activity


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Social Attachment(Meyer & Stadler)

  • Change in Living Condition

  • Relationship to Parents

  • Parental Education Methods

  • Emotional & Social Attachment

  • Involvement in Conventional Activities

  • Belief in Social Rules


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Addiction Pressures for Crime(Meyer & Stadler)

  • Severity of Pathological Gambling

  • Cravings to Gamble

  • Duration of Gambling

  • Debt & Income/Loss Ratio

  • Emotional & Family Problems

  • Type and Frequency of Gambling


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Personality and Crime(Meyer & Stadler)

  • Aggressiveness

  • Extroversion

  • Impulsivity; Risk-Motivation

  • Antisocial Personality

  • Frankness; Emotionality

  • Global Mental Status


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Crime: Meyer & Stadler

Social Attachment

.04

.25

Addiction

Criminal Behavior

.48

.63

.52

Personality

.33


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The Five “R”s

  • Remorse – evidence of feelings

  • Repentance – evidence of lifestyle changes. What is different? Job situation, marriage, etc.

  • Restitution plan. Is it realistic?

  • Recovery – treatment plan for recovery. Give details and dates. Evidence of compliance

  • Rehabilitation – evidence of change in attitude. Volunteer work, community service, spiritual life style change


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US Courts & Pathological Gambling

  • Insanity Defense Argued in 1980s (PG does not apply)

  • Federal Sentencing Guidelines

  • Diminished Capacity and Downward Departure

  • “Significantly Reduced Mental Capacity”


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Minnesota Rule 82 Pathological Gambling

  • Offenders Convicted of Felony Theft, Embezzlement & Forgery

  • PO Screens using SOGS

  • 17% SOGS 5+

  • Sent for Gambling Assessment


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Conditions of Probation for Pathological Gamblers

  • Abstinence from Gambling

  • Attendance at GA

  • Community Service

  • Gambling Counseling

  • Restitution Orders

  • How about Exclusion?


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Gambling Court

  • Modeled after Drug Courts

  • Buffalo, New York

  • 26th Judicial Court in Louisiana

  • Proposed in Florida


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Gambling Court - 2

  • Eligibility Criteria

  • Pathological Gamblers

  • First Offenders

  • Non-violent

  • No drug dealers

  • No sex offenders


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Gambling Court - 5

  • Recommendations possible depend on what treatment is available

  • Inpatient treatment (Louisiana only)

  • Intensive Outpatient day treatment

  • Halfway House

  • Outpatient treatment

  • Gamblers Anonymous


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Gambling Court - 8

  • No Evaluations of gambling courts conducted to date

  • Drug Courts show 45-50% graduation rates

  • Drug Courts show reduced recidivism in two-thirds of the courts evaluated


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Pathological Gambling among Prisoners

  • Conducted a Meta-analysis of 10 Studies

  • 19.6% of prisoners level 3 gamblers (probable PGs)

  • Gamblers higher criminality

  • Higher rate of psychopathy

  • Higher rate of Depression

  • Higher Rate of SUD


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Gambling in Prisons

  • Play Cards for Cigarettes

  • Bet on Horses with prison bookies

  • Sports Betting

  • -- Sell drugs to pay for gambling

  • -- Bet with $$ on outside

  • -- Get into Fights

  • -- Provide services to pay gambling


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Recommendations for CJS and Pathological Gambling

1. Educate & train CJS personnel

2. Explore Gambling Courts

3. Evaluate and Assess Offenders

on Pre-trial basis

4. GA meetings in Prisons

5. PG Treatment with trained counselors

6. Community Service by ex-prisoners at prison GA meetings


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