Field of Work: Racial disparities in substance abuse treatment.
Problem Synopsis: In November 2000, California voters approved Proposition 36, a diversion program aimed at nonviolent drug-possession offenders. Proposition 36 specifies that an offender convicted of a nonviolent drug-possession offense will generally be sentenced to probation instead of state prison, county jail or probation without drug treatment. As a condition of probation, the offender must complete a drug treatment program. What was not known was whether there were racial disparities in access to substance abuse treatment.
Synopsis of the Work: Researchers at the RAND Corporation examined whether there were racial disparities in access to health care, satisfaction with services and perceived quality of life among people participating in substance abuse treatment programs. When they were not able to obtain data as part of a RAND study of California's Proposition 36 drug possession offender program, researchers analyzed data from a National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded study. The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's national Substance Abuse Policy Research Program.