Study: Most Colorado jail inmates moved to the state before marijuana legalization – Greeley Tribune
Homeless jail inmates are significantly less likely than non-homeless inmates to have committed a violent crime, according to a study published Friday by the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice.
Other findings from the study looked at the effect marijuana legalization had on inmates’ decision to move to Colorado, mental health diagnoses between the homeless and non-homeless populations and services desired by inmates for transitioning out of jail. The Division of Criminal Justice commissioned the study with the hopes of answering questions about an increase in the homeless population in major Colorado jails.
A majority of the inmates who weren’t born in Colorado moved to the state before 2012, prior to the legalization of marijuana. Of those who moved after legalization, more than one-third reported legalization as a reason for moving to the state. The most commonly reported reason homeless inmates came to Colorado after 2012 was “to get away from a problem,” with family being the second most common reason. Both homeless and non-homeless inmates ranked marijuana as a reason to stay in Colorado, but neither group ranked it as a top five reason.
Homeless inmates came from states statistically similar to non-homeless inmates, with the most coming from California, Texas and Arizona.
More than half of homeless inmates reported a substance use disorder diagnosis, making such diagnoses about 20 percent more common among homeless inmates than non-homeless inmates. More than 60 percent of those who were homeless within the 30 days prior to their incarceration reported a mental illness diagnosis, compared with 46.4 percent among non-homeless inmates.
Officials used the booking data to compare the survey respondents’ criminal charges, finding non-homeless inmates were significantly more likely to have violent crimes charges. Non-homeless inmates had an average of 0.62 violent crimes, compared with homeless inmates’ average of 0.36 violent crimes.