Date of Award

Fall 10-12-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Dr. Lisa Muftic

Second Advisor

Dr. Wendy Guastaferro

Third Advisor

Dr. Mary Finn


Research has found support for the effectiveness of procedural justice, specifically perceived fairness, in gaining compliance from people with respect to the police and the courts (Sunshine & Tyler, 2003; Tyler, 1984; Tyler, 2001). Further, research has examined the effectiveness in jail-based residential substance abuse treatment (RSAT) programs in reducing recidivism for offenders with substance abuse problems (Bahr, Harris, Strobell, & Taylor, 2012; Eisenberg & Fabelo, 1996; Hiller, Knight, & Simpson, 1999). However, research has yet to test whether procedural justice can impact recidivism for offenders with substance abuse problems and multiple incarcerations. The major focus of this Master’s thesis was to examine whether 78 participants in the 90-day jail-based RSAT program known as Starting Treatment and Recovery Today (START) were less likely to be rearrested after release from jail if they felt they were treated fairly by the jail staff. Bivariate analyses were conducted on survey data and official criminal records. The findings suggest that perceived fairness of the jail staff was not related to post-program recidivism. Moreover, the results indicate that offenders with more extensive criminal histories were more likely to recidivate. Recommendations for future research and the implications of the findings are discussed.