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Testing the Efficacy of Judicial Monitoring: A Randomized Trial at the Rochester

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2012
88 pages

This first randomized controlled trial (RCT) of intensive judicial monitoring with domestic-violence offenders focused on offenders whose cases were processed in either of two specialized domestic violence courts in Rochester, NY between October 2006 and December 2009.


As used in this study, judicial monitoring is "frequent ongoing court appearances to verify and motivate offender compliance" with court mandated conditions. Overall, the findings do not generally support the positive impact of judicial monitoring, even though such monitoring has been shown to be effective with other offender populations; however, there was some evidence that under certain circumstances, judicial monitoring may increase compliance with court mandates. Regarding the impact of judicial monitoring on offender behavior, the study determined that assignment to judicial monitoring did not have a significant impact on re-arrests, program attendance, or program completion. Regarding its impact on offender perceptions, judicial monitoring was associated with offenders being significantly more likely to believe they understood their obligations, that there would be consequences for noncompliance, and that the consequences would be severe, compared to offenders not assigned to judicial monitoring. Offenders sentenced by the judge who opted not to incentivize achievements through reductions in monitoring frequency attended significantly more program sessions and were also more likely to complete assigned programs than offenders sentenced by the other judges. This tentatively suggests that domestic violence offenders benefit from more frequent monitoring (e.g., biweekly) and from not expecting to receive praise or other incentives for following court orders. Higher scores on two of the offender perception indexes, i.e., perceptions of the consequences of noncompliance and perceptions of procedural justice, were significantly associated with attending more batterer program sessions. In addition, a higher score on the severity of response index (expecting a more severe response to noncompliance) was significantly associated with attending more substance abuse treatment sessions. 1 figure, 8 tables, 61 references, and appended study tools

Date Published: December 1, 2012