Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Social Work

Degree Program

Social Work, PhD

Committee Chair

Golder, Seana

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Gattis, Maurice

Committee Member

Gattis, Maurice

Committee Member

Hall, Martin

Committee Member

Harris, Lesley

Committee Member

Otis, Melanie

Author's Keywords

probation; recidivism; crime; women; treatment


The aim of this study is to examine the affect that treatment services have on the criminal justice outcomes of women on probation. The research to date on the treatment services provided to the criminal justice population has tended to focus on prisoners rather than probationers, with even fewer studies that include samples of women on probation. This study will investigate the impact on criminal justice outcomes of services intended to treat issues identified to increase recidivism among female probationers, such as substance use disorders, illicit drug use, mental health issues, and poverty. An additional assessment is conducted to determine the affect of race/ethnicity on the recidivism outcomes of the participants given the history of racial discrimination within the U.S. criminal justice system. The sample for this study included 247 women on probation that participated in three waves of data collection over a four-year period. Logistic regression models, chi-square tests, and t tests were performed to determine the relationship that treatment services for substance use, mental health, employment services, and financial assistance had on the recidivism outcomes of the participants over the course of the study. Information on the race/ethnicity and income of the participants were also investigated in the logistic regression models, chi-square tests, and t tests to assess their affect on recidivism outcomes. The findings of the logistic regression indicated that reception of more social security or disability throughout the study reduced the likelihood of recidivism, while receiving more substance use and mental health treatment services during the study increased occurrences of recidivism. Additionally, the findings from the chi-square and t test identified that participants recidivated significantly more often if they received more substance use and mental health treatment during the study in addition to using more types of illicit drugs in the past 12 months at the baseline interview, and were less likely to experience recidivism if they accessed more social security or disability throughout the study. The implications for policies and practices at U.S. probation departments are also discussed, which include expansion of affordable evidence-based practices for substance use and mental health, providing financial assistance to address the high instances of poverty among the population, elimination of the financial barriers placed on offenders by the criminal justice system, and eradication of policing practices that target African Americans.