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New York City's Gun Court Initiative: A Pilot Program Study

NCJ Number
Freda F. Solomon Ph.D.
Date Published
April 2006
8 pages
This Research Brief reports on an evaluation of New York City’s pilot Gun Court Initiative.
The evaluation focused on assessing progress toward four goals: (1) an increase in indictment rates in cases involving gun-possession; (2) utilization of the designated Gun Court for indicted gun-possession cases; (3) an increase in consistent sentencing; and (4) swifter dispositions. Results indicated that there was not an increase in indictment rates for post-program gun-possession cases but there was an increase in dismissals for these cases. Other findings revealed that the rate of correct assignment to the specialized Gun Court was approximately 90 percent. In terms of consistency of sentencing, the results indicated that the number of cases with sentences within the statutory guidelines significantly increased and that split sentences of imprisonment were nearly eliminated. The Gun Court was also successful in developing an expedited schedule to bring cases to disposition in a timely manner. Indeed, 89 percent of post-program cases reached disposition within 180 days compared to the 69 percent that were disposed within 180 days before the implementation of the Gun Court. The evaluation involved tracking cases in Brooklyn with selected weapons charges in the year before the Gun Court Initiative (568 cases) and in the first year of the program’s implementation (479 cases). Data were drawn from the New York City Criminal Justice Agency. New York’s Gun Court Initiative has been expanded to all of Brooklyn’s precincts following the evaluation. Followup research should focus on examining the impact of the Gun Court on the targeted neighborhoods’ gun-related violence. Figures


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