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Does Judicial Monitoring Deter Domestic Violence Recidivism?: Results of a Quasi-Experimental Comparison in the Bronx

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 14 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2008 Pages: 185-207
Date Published
February 2008
23 pages

This study examined whether ongoing judicial monitoring of convicted domestic-violence offenders reduced recidivism when compared with cases of similar offenders who did not receive judicial monitoring.


Judicial monitoring--which typically involves ongoing court appearances before a judge, compliance officer, or referee for the purpose of verifying defendant compliance with program attendance and other court orders--failed to reduce the rearrest rate for domestic violence, whether with the same victim or a different victim. Offenders who were and were not sentenced to judicial monitoring showed no significant differences in the probability of rearrest for any crime, for domestic violence, or for criminal contempt (signaling domestic violence with the same victim). Neither was there a significant difference between the samples in the number of crime-free days prior to the first rearrest. On the other hand, an older age and greater stake in conformity (as measured by employment status) predicted a significant reduction in reoffending for any new offenses. Past criminality predicted future criminality. Because other similar studies have suggested a positive impact from judicial monitoring of domestic-violence offenders, the authors suggests that more research be conducted. Matched samples were created between 387 offenders sentenced to judicial monitoring in the Bronx (New York) and 219 otherwise similar offenders whose sentences did not include judicial monitoring. Propensity score matching techniques were used to balance the samples on arrest charges, criminal history, relationship to victim, and other case characteristics. All offenders were tracked over the first year after sentencing in order to determine whether and when they were rearrested for any new offenses. Most offenders were also tracked over a long 18-month period. Those sentenced to judicial monitoring were required to appear before a judicial hearing officer, usually a retired judge, for monthly inquiries into compliance with court mandates. 3 tables, 3 figures, and 19 references

Date Published: February 1, 2008