Since advocates of marijuana legalization in Washington State argued that it would decrease the jail population and reduce the disproportionate incarceration of minorities, reasoning that the police would refocus their resources on other matters, the current study examined whether this occurred after marijuana was legalized in the state in 2012.
In evaluating whether the assumption occurred, this study examined jail booking data using a set of interrupted time-series regression models. The findings indicate that jail population trends differed among counties across time and with respect to impacts on minorities and women. Regarding ethnic and racial disproportionate impact, there was apparently little positive change. (publisher abstract modified)