Mandatory Partner Violence Prosecution: Little Recidivism Impact


Mandatory prosecution in intimate partner violence cases had little to no effect on re-arrest rates six months later, say a series of studies published in the new issue of Criminology & Public Policy. The studies suggested that mandatory arrest policies negatively affected victims' feelings of empowerment. Robert C. Davis, a senior research analyst at the RAND Corporation, Chris O'Sullivan, a research consultant, and Donald J. Farole, Jr., and Michael Rempel, both at the Center for Court Innovation, studied different prosecution policies in two New York City boroughs: Brooklyn followed a mandatory arrest policy; the Bronx allowed victims to decide whether to proceed.

Comparison of the two policies suggested that mandatory arrest policies have very little effect on recidivism, yet used too many resources and angered victims. The study is available from the Center for Court Innovation at the link listed here. In the journal, which is available online ony to subscribers, Jo Dixon of the New York University School of Law and Candace Kruttschnitt of the University of Toronto argue that the issue of intimate partner violence is a multi-faceted problem that cannot be addressed solely by one policy or even by one agency. They suggest that to be more effective, domestic violence courts should be closely coupled with social welfare policies that provide assistance to socially marginal populations. Eve Buzawa of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and Aaron Buzawa, an U.S. Justice Department lawyer, argue that in the absence of clear evidence that mandatory prosecution policies reduce recidivism, they should not be implemented.


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