Do batterer programs reduce recidivism? Results from a randomized trial in the Bronx

  • Labriola M
  • Rempel M
  • Davis R
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Abstract

Over the past two decades, a growing number of courts have come to rely on batterer programs as their mandate of choice, especially when the legal issues in a case preclude the imposition of jail. Three of four previous randomized trials produced largely negative results. The present study seeks to provide greater clarification. The study randomly assigned misdemeanor domestic violence offenders in the Bronx, New York to either a batterer program or not; and to either monthly or graduated judicial monitoring, with the latter involving reduced court appearances in response to compliance and increased appearances in response to noncompliance. The study found that neither the batterer program nor either of the two monitoring schedules produced a reduction in official re-arrest rates for any offense, for domestic violence, or for domestic violence with the same victim. Similarly, 1-year victim interviews indicated that neither program assignment nor monitoring schedule significantly affected victim reports of re-abuse, either in general or with regard to specific forms of re-abuse: physical, threats, or other. While victims expressed greater satisfaction with the sentence when a batterer program was assigned, interpretation of this last finding is difficult in the absence of an effect on re-abuse.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Batterer programs
  • Domestic violence

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Authors

  • Melissa Labriola

  • Michael Rempel

  • Robert C. Davis

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