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Published Findings From the Spouse Assault Replication Program: A Critical Review

NCJ Number
Journal of Quantitative Criminology Volume: 11 Issue: 1 Dated: (1995) Pages: 3-28
Date Published
26 pages
This article critically reviews the published findings of the Spouse Assault Replication Program (SARP), which addressed whether or not arrest is an effective deterrent to misdemeanor spouse assault.

Between 1985 and 1991, teams of police departments and researchers implemented in six jurisdictions similar experiments designed to provide independent and complementary tests of the theories that informed the Minneapolis experiment: the specific deterrent effects of arrest on subsequent criminality. The initial published findings from these tests are available for six SARP experiments in five sites. Findings that support a deterrent effect, no effect, and an escalation effect have been reported by the original authors and in interpretations of the published findings by other authors. This review found many methodologically defensible approaches used in these reports, but not one of these approaches was used consistently in all published reports. Tables that report the raw data on the prevalence and incidence of repeat incidents of domestic assault are presented to provide a more consistent comparison across all seven experiments. This review concludes that the available information is incomplete and inadequate for a definitive statement about the results of these experiments. It urges researchers and policymakers to use caution in interpreting the findings available to date. 6 tables and 54 references

Date Published: January 1, 1995