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Reconsidering Domestic Violence Recidivism: Individual and Contextual Effects of Court Dispositions and Stake in Conformity

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 1999
110 pages
Publication Series
This report presents results from a study of the effectiveness of various court dispositions for preventing, reducing, and delaying domestic violence.
The study was based on data concerning a sample of 3,662 suspects arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence in Hamilton County (Cincinnati), Ohio, between August 1993 and May 1996. It examined the main effects of court dispositions as well as how those effects may be conditioned by informal social controls (stake in conformity). The study included empirical tests of the effectiveness of court dispositions in reducing or delaying recidivism; examination of the relationship between recidivism and individual- and aggregate-level measures of stake in conformity; analyses of the conditioned effects of court dispositions by stake in conformity on recidivism; construction of maps depicting the geographic distribution of domestic violence across Cincinnati; and a descriptive analysis of the time (in months) until recidivism for suspects in specified disposition groups. Specific findings included the following: (1) offender programs and split sentences (probation and jail) were more effective for reducing and/or delaying re-arrest among offenders with higher individual-levels of stake in conformity; (2) the prevalence and incidence of re-arrest were lower for offenders from lower-stake neighborhoods serving split sentences; (3) sentences of jail alone had a greater incapacitative effect compared to probation alone and probation combined with jail; and (4) although suspects whose cases were ignored ended up with some of the highest recidivism likelihoods in the sample overall, recidivists in that group actually had longer delays to re-arrest compared to other disposition groups (offender programs, probation, jail, and probation combined with jail). A computer diskette is included with the report. Tables, figures, references

Date Published: October 1, 1999