School of Criminal Justice Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Justice and Human Services

First Advisor

Marcelo Castro

Second Advisor

Marguerite Bryan

Third Advisor

Peter Benekos


Mandatory sentences, and especially those that promote severe detention lengths, have become a popular mechanism in the fight against crime, but are they effective? Certain Sanctions, an adult probation-based sanctioning mandate, is an example of one such mandatory policy that emphasizes harsh sanctions in order to promote reduced future criminality. The philosophy behind such a device fits well into the theoretical framework of deterrence theory in that quick, severe sanctions ought to reduce future criminality. However, little research exists regarding the effectiveness of such a mandatory probation-based sanction policy with regards to the reduction of future criminality. Furthermore, the impact of detention length, as specified by a mandatory sanctioning policy, on delineated offender types with regards to future criminality was considered. Is there a difference, with consideration to recidivism, among different types of offenders?

This paper analyzed previously collected adult probation data to determine the impact of detention length in general, as well as on specifically defined offender types, with regards to recidivism in an attempt to answer these questions. Bivariate and multivariate analytical techniques such as point biserial correlation and regression models indicated that detention days are the most significant variable with regards to recidivism and that non-drug and/or alcohol offenders were more likely to recidivate than were the drug and/or alcohol offenders.