Alcohol use is commonly reported as a short-term criminal risk factor; however there is minimal research on long-term effects of alcohol misuse on crime. Canadian Aboriginal offenders exhibit both disproportionate crime and alcohol disorder prevalence. This thesis examines the impact of diagnosed alcohol dependence on Aboriginal ethnicity and criminal sentencing in British Columbia (BC). An administrative linkage database was used to develop a retrospective cohort of 77719 offenders sentenced through BC courts from 2001-2010. A coefficient difference mediation analysis was used to evaluate the mediating effect of alcohol dependence. Adjustment for alcohol dependence rate resulted in a small and statistically insignificant change in the sentencing rate (2%, 95% Confidence Interval: -13%, 14%). This study demonstrates that alcohol dependence does not have a mediating effect on sentencing rate among BC offenders. Nonetheless, the prevalence of alcohol dependence suggests that alcohol misuse is an important health policy target among offenders.
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Thesis advisor: McCandless, Lawrence
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