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Longitudinal Study of a Cohort of Batterers Arraigned in a Massachusetts District Court 1995 to 2004

NCJ Number
215346
Author(s)
Douglas Wilson Ph.D.; Andrew Klein Ph.D.
Date Published
May 2006
Length
67 pages
Annotation
This study examined the criminal activities of 342 men arraigned for domestic crimes for a period of 9 years following their original domestic crimes arrest, as well as the criminal justice response to their criminality.
Abstract
The findings revealed that the men arrested for domestic violence in this study cohort were generally antisocial, persistently criminal, and engaged in domestic violence as part of their general criminal activities. Police arrested 75 percent of the 342 men for subsequent crimes involving substance abuse or violence (including domestic violence), or both. Men in the cohort were commonly arrested for a new crime before the courts disposed of an earlier crime. The commission of a new crime before the disposition of a previous crime did not adversely impact the criminal justice outcome for the defendant, but actually seemed to work in the defendant’s favor as both offenses were typically handled by the court in one disposition while the court’s sentence remained unaffected. Statistical analyses indicated that the courts displayed consistency in the application of deterrence responses/sentences in domestic violence cases, which included the use of probation, suspended sentences, split sentences, and jail. Given the criminal histories of the men in the cohort, the authors suggest it is unlikely that a deterrence approach alone, or even deterrence combined with batterer treatment, will deter these men from committing future crimes, particularly domestic violence. The findings also illustrate that in order to properly evaluate the impact of criminal justice responses to domestic violence, it is necessary to consider the responses within the broader context of an abuser’s general criminal behavior. Data were drawn from the State’s criminal history file and from individual court criminal and civil records for 342 men who were originally arrested for domestic violence within the jurisdiction of an eastern Massachusetts District Court between February 1995 and March 1996. Data were analyzed using cross tabulations, Fisher’s exact test, bivariate and multivariate logistical analysis, and survival analysis. Tables, figures, exhibits, footnotes, bibliography

Date Published: May 1, 2006