Date of Award

Fall 12-2019

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Joshua B. Hill

Advisor Department

Criminal Justice


Due to the massive prison population in America, correctional agencies are considering alternatives to standard incarceration. These programs are designed to redirect individuals from serving a prison sentence, and are instead assigned to a program specifically targeted at reducing offenders’ likelihood at recidivating. Typically, the main focus of these programs centers on education, job training, and various types of counseling. The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) has implemented two programs that aim at reducing recidivism: the first was the Regimented Inmate Discipline Program (RID), which was later replaced with the Recidivism Reduction Program (RRP). While both programs were intended to take the same types of offenders and had the same end goal of reducing recidivism rates, they employed very different methods. The RID is a shock incarceration program, while the RRP employs cognitive behavioral therapy. Research regarding recidivism reduction programs and their effectiveness are plenty. However, one area in which research is lacking is whether disparities in racial treatment are as prevalent as in other areas of the justice system (Walker, Spohn, Delone, 2009). The primary question this research seeks to ask is regarding the role of racial disparities in program assignment. This research will then explore the factors that judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys use in sentencing offenders to recidivism reduction programs.