Faculty Research at Morehead State University


Examining Racial Disparities in Program Completion and Post-Program Recidivism Rates: Comparing Caucasian and Non-Caucasian Treatment Court Participants


Lisa M. Shannon

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The current study examined racial disparities in program completion and post-program outcomes for Caucasian and non-Caucasian participants in a statewide treatment court. A stratified random sample (n = 534) was selected to represent total participants in Kentucky Drug Courts (KDC; N = 4,881) from July 1, 2006, to January 1, 2011. Data were gathered from the participant assessment at program entry (modified Addiction Severity Index [ASI]); the KDC Management Information System, which contains information on services and activities during program participation; and secondary data sources showing post-program arrests, convictions, and incarcerations. A multivariate logistic regression, with race as the only predictor, showed that in comparison to Caucasians, the odds of graduating decreased by 51% for non-Caucasians (OR = .495, p < .05). However, when significant demographic, substance use, mental health, criminal justice, and during-program factors were added to the model, race was not significantly associated with program completion. Another multivariate logistic regression showed no significant racial differences in post-program recidivism (defined as any arrest, conviction, or incarceration). Data suggested few differences in program completion and post-program outcomes strictly associated with race; however, there were several statistically significant associated factors that ultimately may be related to race. Practice and policy implications are discussed.