Berryessa, C.M. and Krenzer, W. (2020). The stigma of addiction and effects on community perceptions of procedural justice in drug treatment courts. Journal of Drug Issues.
We present a series of four between-subject, multifactorial experiments that examine how labeling offenders with addiction, as well as if that psychiatric label is described to be biologically influenced, may affect community perceptions regarding the importance of procedural justice in drug treatment courts. Stigmatization toward addiction is hypothesized to moderate community views on procedural justice. Labeling with addiction garnered nonsignificant effects on community perceptions of the importance of procedural justice in drug treatment courts. Yet, patterns of moderation analyses indicated that participants with higher degrees of stigmatization toward an offender with addiction, and particularly if that psychiatric label was also described to be biologically influenced, rated the importance of offenders experiencing aspects of procedural justice as significantly higher. Higher degrees of public stigmatization associated with the “brain disease model” of addiction appear to coexist with increased community support for offenders with such labels experiencing increased procedural justice and fairness.