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Brockton, Massachusetts, Arrest Policies Project: A Process Evaluation

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2000
24 pages

This report presents the methodology, findings, and recommendations of a process evaluation of the Arrest Program in Brockton, MA, a Federal grant program that encourages jurisdictions to implement mandatory or proarrest policies as an effective domestic-violence intervention that is part of a coordinated community response.


The Brockton Family and Community Resources, Inc. (BFCR) is the nonprofit, nongovernmental partner involved in the project. This organization is a community-based provider of mental health, substance abuse, and domestic-violence services for children, adolescents, and adults. It is managed by an executive director, who oversees the director of outpatient services and the director of community services. The director of community services is the partnering individual for the Arrest Program. The BFCR is based on the premise that domestic violence issues are often associated with mental health and/or substance abuse issues. It addresses clients holistically and attempts to treat individuals and families in a case management format. The grant for the Arrest Program is based on a partnership between the Brockton Police Department and the BFCR. This report describes the project's planning process, proposal goals, and implementation. The goal of the Arrest Program was to monitor and improve the law enforcement response to domestic violence and ensure that domestic incidents in general are addressed with "proper action" or a coordinated community response. The seven project goals were to monitor and train police officers, provide victim advocacy services, train local Neighborhood Watch participants, implement a citywide domestic violence task force, train "educational trainers," implement batterer accountability programs, and establish an accountability protocol for officer-related domestic violence. The evaluation concluded that the Arrest Project has apparently had a significant impact on the Brockton Police Department. Policies and protocols have been instituted within the department; and these protocols have produced a uniform police response to domestic violence throughout the city. In deciding not to create a special first-responder unit to handle all domestic violence calls, the project has instead focused on changing the culture and practice of an entire department and has inspired action by other agencies. The partnership between the police and the BFCR has led to a number of community outreach and education initiatives. The example of collaboration set by the project partners has influenced a variety of other collaborations. Overall, the project has made progress in improving victim access to services, holding offenders accountable, raising public awareness of domestic violence, and streamlining the overall processing of domestic-violence cases. The evaluation's recommendations for improving project performance are to create formal partnerships with the other criminal justice agencies, increase the number of project staff, and conduct periodic assessments.

Date Published: September 1, 2000