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Findings From an Outcome Examination of Rhode Island's Specialized Domestic Violence Probation Supervision Program: Do Specialized Supervision Programs of Batterers Reduce Reabuse?

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 14 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2008 Pages: 226-246
Date Published
February 2008
21 pages

This study examined whether specialized probation supervision in combination with treatment was effective in reducing reoffending for a sample of 552 domestic-violence offenders in Rhode Island.


The study found that there were high rates of rearrests of the sample for both domestic violence offenses and other offenses. Between 6 months and 2 years after their probationary sentences ended, 58.7 percent of the sample was arrested for a nondomestic-violence criminal offense, and 39.85 percent were arrested for a new domestic-violence offense. Findings show, however, that lower risk abusers, which constituted almost half of the probation caseload of abusers supervised by the special unit, were significantly less likely to be rearrested for domestic violence or other crimes than were lower risk abusers supervised in the traditional mix of caseloads. Victim satisfaction was apparently higher, and abusers were held more accountable for their behavior while on specialized probation. Lower risk domestic-violence offenders were those with no prior probation supervision for domestic violence, those not sentenced concurrently for multiple domestic violence cases, and those not incarcerated as part of their sentence. These findings suggest that risk assessments are critical in the selection of domestic-violence offenders likely to benefit from probation supervision in combination with treatment. The research compared the effectiveness of the specialized supervision program with regular, undifferentiated supervision of male domestic-violence offenders prosecuted for misdemeanors against female intimate partners. The quantitative analysis was based on findings from a nonrandom representative sample of 552 male probationers drawn from the nearly 3,000 misdemeanor domestic-violence probationers in Rhode Island as of January 1, 2003. At sentencing, these offenders were placed in either a regular caseload or a specialized domestic-violence caseload. The probationers were tracked through January 2004 in order to determine differences in rearrests for domestic-violence offenses and other offenses. 1 table, 1 figure, and 32 references

Date Published: February 1, 2008