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Sacramento County, California, Arrest Policies Project: A Process Evaluation

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2000
16 pages
This report presents the findings and recommendations of a process evaluation of the Arrest Policies project in Sacramento County (California), which was funded under a Federal grant intended to encourage jurisdictions to implement mandatory or proarrest policies as an effective domestic-violence intervention that is part of a coordinated community response to domestic violence.
The focus of the Arrest Policies grant to Sacramento County was the establishment of a Domestic Violence Home Court to handle all preliminary non-evidentiary matters in domestic violence misdemeanor and felony cases. All other nondomestic-violence charges against a defendant in Home Court are assigned to this court. The prosecutor's special Domestic Violence Unit for felony cases was upgraded to permit the handling of misdemeanor cases and all domestic-violence felony cases. A third initiative under the Arrest Policies project was the funding of a special probation unit that would provide intensive supervision for the most serious domestic-violence probationers. The process evaluation of the project was based on a 3-day site visit in early June 2000 and follow-up telephone calls. The process objectives included the reinforcement of police involvement in domestic-violence cases by displaying prosecution and court responsiveness to arrest; the centralization of all preliminary matters in domestic-violence cases before a judge who has been trained in the dynamics of domestic violence; increased sensitivity to victim needs by criminal justice personnel; improved probation supervision for domestic-violence probationers; and the provision of crisis intervention services to victims in court. Performance objectives included reduced recidivism among first-time, low-level misdemeanor offenders and reduced sentencing variability. The evaluation concluded that both the prosecutor and probation offices in Sacramento County have significantly improved their respective officers' response to domestic violence. A strong foundation has been laid for a coordinated multiagency response to domestic violence in the county. More local resources for probation may be required, however, so as to ensure that recent gains are not lost.

Date Published: September 1, 2000