NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Nancy Nicosia

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November 2012Does Mandatory Diversion to Drug Treatment Eliminate Racial Disparities in the Incarceration of Drug Offenders? An Examination of California’s Proposition 36
with John M. MacDonald, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula: w18518
Like other states, minorities are disproportionately represented in the California’s state prison system, particularly for drug offenses. Unlike other states, California has had a policy of mandatory diversion to drug treatment for non-violent drug offenders since mid-2001 (Proposition 36). Using a rich dataset including current and prior criminal charges from 1995 through 2005 in California, we examine whether disparities in court dispositions to prison and drug treatment between White and Blacks male drug offenders are explained by observable case and criminal justice characteristics. We estimate the extent to which remaining observable disparities are affected by Proposition 36. We find that Black and White male drug offenders differ considerably on covariates, but by weighting on th...

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