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From Initial Deterrence to Long-Term Escalation: Short- Custody Arrest for Poverty Ghetto Domestic Violence

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 29 Issue: 4 Dated: (November 1991) Pages: 821-849
Date Published
29 pages
To test the effects of the variance in length of custody for persons arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence, this study randomly assigned short (X=2.8 hours), full (X=11.1 hours), and no arrests (warning only) to a sample of 1,200 cases. The suspects were predominantly unemployed blacks living in poverty ghetto neighborhoods in Milwaukee.
Based on victim interviews and one official measure, the data indicated that short arrest had a substantial initial deterrent effect relative to the warning group. However, in the long term, neither group reflected any deterrent effect. On the most comprehensive official measure, short-term custody showed significantly higher long-term recidivism than no arrest. While its deterrent effect lasted only 30 days, its crimogenic effect was significant, even at one year. The authors conclude that short-custody arrests for domestic violence in black ghetto areas may pose a dilemma between short- and long-term crime control, but longer custody arrests have no clear staying effect in either direction. 7 tables, 1 figure, 7 notes, and 45 references (Author abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 1991