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Queens County, New York, Arrest Policies Project: A Process Evaluation

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2000
21 pages
This report presents the findings and recommendations of a process evaluation of the Queens County (New York) Arrest Policies program, which was funded under a Federal grant intended to promote the implementation of mandatory or proarrest policies as an effective domestic-violence intervention that is part of a coordinated community response.
Based on the grant proposal, the grant funds were to be used by the Queens County District Attorney's Office and Victim Services to jointly staff a newly created misdemeanor vertical prosecution unit to focus on domestic-violence cases. This new unit includes additional prosecutors and support staff to process and prosecute misdemeanor domestic violence cases, as well as victim advocates/counselors to provide services to domestic-violence victims at the earliest stage of prosecution and to continue these services as needed. Project objectives were to establish a dedicated misdemeanor domestic-violence prosecution unit, increase the number of prosecutors who are handling these cases, and vertically prosecute all cases assigned to the unit. An emergency response team is to be established for on-call accessibility to provide immediate prosecution direction and victim services in felony domestic-violence cases at the crime scene, precinct, or other location. The project also intends to provide outreach to community programs and organizations that are serving the many ethnic groups in the county. Objectives also include the provision of domestic-violence training to all participants in the prosecution of such cases as well as to the personnel of agencies that provide services to domestic-violence victims. Another project aim was to establish a collaborative advisory group on domestic violence. The evaluation found that virtually all of the project goals have been met. The project has increased domestic-violence convictions in the county by approximately 100 percent (from 30 percent to 60 percent of police arrests) and increased victim services. Victim Services will provide, based on current caseloads, short-term counseling at the initial case stages to as many as 1,000 victims. Long-term counseling has been provided to 300-400 victims each year. The most significant shortcoming of the misdemeanor domestic violence prosecution unit is its lack of presence at case intake. Also, the issue of dual arrests (both parties in a domestic-violence case) should be analyzed. More work could be done to involve specific ethnic groups in the county in the project's operations.

Date Published: February 1, 2000