U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Severity of Dispositions and Domestic Violence Recidivism

NCJ Number
Crime & Delinquency Volume: 44 Issue: 3 Dated: July 1998 Pages: 388-398
Date Published
11 pages

This article reports on the effects of court dispositions on rearrest for domestic violence.


The article is based on a study of adults arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence in Hamilton County (Cincinnati), Ohio. Arrestees were tracked for one year after their sentences, if any, had been served. Qualitatively, more severe sentences (e.g., jail combined with probation versus either probation or jail) corresponded with lower recidivism likelihood. Also, these sentences appeared most effective for persons with greater stakes in conformity (i.e., those less transient in terms of residence and employment and those living in neighborhoods with higher socioeconomic status). While sentence severity may contribute to the prevention of recidivism, the length of probation and the length of jail were not significant predictors of recidivism. The article suggests that a policy of shock incarceration that combines 1 month of jail with 6 months of probation would be effective for significantly reducing recidivism among this population of offenders. Tables, notes, references

Date Published: January 1, 1998