Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Criminal Justice


Wendy Guastaferro

Committee Members

Jeff Mellow

Michael Maxfield

Subject Categories

Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice


substance abuse, treatment intervention, corrections, risk-needs-responsivity model, jails, recidivism


Jails and the needs of their populations are often overlooked despite their nearly 11 million annual admissions. More than 700,000 inmates are housed in jail on any given day in the United States, most of whom are non-violent and not yet convicted of a crime. This large population also reflects a high-need, heavily drug-involved population with nearly 70% of all jail inmates having a diagnosable substance use disorder. These high-need individuals are likely to continue cycling in and out of jail without treatment especially as they often return to the people, places, and things that are conducive to their use. Given this large high-need population combined with increasingly lengthy stays, jails offer a crucial opportunity for the provision and expansion of services. Using a quasi-experimental approach, the current study assesses the rearrest outcomes of a jail-based substance abuse treatment program while employing an ad-hoc proxy variable for risk of recidivism (N=410). This study explores the influence various factors have on post-release rearrest among a sample of jail inmates, using logistic and cox proportional hazard regression. Ultimately, this dissertation seeks to explore contributors of rearrest among this sample of jail inmates, many of who are drug-involved, and add to the literature examining need and effectiveness of treatment under the auspices of the criminal justice system with particular focus on the Risk-Needs-Responsivity model.