Measuring Delinquency in the Context of the Swiss Heroin Prescription Programs

Marcelo F. Aebi, University of Sevilla

This paper is based on a comparative analysis of police records, court records, and self-reported delinquency for a sample of 500 adult drug addicts. According to these three different crime measures, most of the members of the sample were heavily involved in delinquency, but their delinquency rates decreased drastically after they joined a heroin prescription program. Thus, the comparative analysis of their delinquency rates (including incidence, prevalence and variety of delinquency) both during the months preceding their admission in the program and during the first year of treatment can be used as a way of assessing the validity of the crime measures involved (i.e. police contacts, court sanctions and a self-reported delinquency survey). In that context, content validity (including face and logical validity) and pragmatic validty (including correlational and known-group validity) are tested. Finally, the paper includes some considerations about the relationship between police contacts and prevalence, incidence, variety and seriousness of self-reported delinquency.

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Updated 05/20/2006