Papers And Originals

The Drunk in Court: Survey of Drunkenness Offenders from Two London Courts

Br Med J 1968; 4 doi: (Published 28 December 1968) Cite this as: Br Med J 1968;4:808
  1. Denis Gath,
  2. Celia Hensman,
  3. Ann Hawker,
  4. Michael Kelly,
  5. Griffith Edwards


    A total of 151 men charged with drunkenness with or without aggravations were interviewed immediately after their appearance before the magistrates. The survey was conducted in two Metropolitan courts; one in an area frequented by vagrants, and the other in a mixed middle-class and working-class area.

    Few of the offenders were casual roisterers and the majority had a serious drinking problem. Half the offenders showed evidence of chemical dependence on alcohol as determined by morning shakes, morning relief drinking, amnesias, inability to stop drinking, and hallucinatory experiences.

    The majority of the offenders were suffering from gross social isolation.

    Existing ways of dealing with such men seem inadequate. A rehabitation service is needed, with hostel accommodation, and particular attention should be paid to first offenders.