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Monday, January 5, 2015

Criminal Justice Intervention in Domestic Violence: Efficiency Under Discussion

Advanced Research Methods
Week 2
Discussion 2

Criminal Justice Intervention in Domestic Violence: Efficiency Under Discussion

Schmidt and Sherman discuss the current criminal justice policies used to intervene in domestic violence cases, and conclude that policies of intervention, in particular that of mandatory arrest, do not constantly serve to reduce levels of domestic violence. The primary study conducted in the Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment suggested that mandatory arrest was the most efficient approach to reducing such violence. “Although the authors opposed mandating arrest until further studies were completed” (Schmidt & Sherman), laws and policies throughout the country dictated that such policy be applied. Unfortunately, this method does not work in all cases, and very often backfires. “No evidence establishes that mandatory arrest has ever worked anywhere. The lack of systematic evidence about mandatory arrest is not to say that it does not protect victims in any circumstances” (Garner, 1997, p.231) Indeed, Schmidt and Sherman mention that many studies contradicted the Minneapolis study by not producing improvements.. Exacerbating the issue is when intervention backfires and causes increased domestic violence, such as in cases where “police intervention in the form of an arrest resulted in retribution by the abuser deterring future reporting.” (Iyenga, 2007, p.14)

Schmidt and Sherman found that intervention worked more in some cases then in others; employed spouses ( and let us note that an arrest of an employed person can lead to that person losing employment), the married, White, and Hispanics; on the other hand, they suggest that intervention backfires more often amongst the unmarried, the unemployed, and Blacks. However, Schmidt and Sherman found inconsistencies even in these results. Another issue they found was that while intervention can reduce domestic violence in the short term, it can make it more likely in the long term. Finally, they suggest that most domestic violence is produced by couples involved in chronic instances of abuse.

Garner, J. (1997). Evaluating the effectiveness of mandatory arrest for domestic violence in Virginia.William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, Volume 3 Issue 1. Retrieved July 11, 2014 from http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/wmjowl/vol3/iss1/10

Iyenga, R. (2007) Does the certainty of arrest reduce domestic violence? Evidence
from mandatory and recommended arrest laws. National Bureau of Economic Research . Retrieved July 11, 2014 from http://people.rwj.harvard.edu/~riyengar/mandatory_arrest.pdf

Schmidt, J. D., & Sherman, L. W. (1996). Does arrest deter domestic violence? Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Retrieved July 11, 2014 from http://search.proquest.com.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/docview/194915503?pq-origsite=summon


When I was a security guard, I noticed the same thing.  Most of the "bad" situations I got into were the result of actions I took when I was not being courteous and being brusque and short-tempered.  Some people are going to be aggressive/obnoxious regardless, but most people do respect courtesy


 Considering that most domestic violence cases seem to be the same couples, over and over, I think both partners should be given restraining orders to keep away from each other, in those cases specifically.  A person may "love" the spouse that kicks them around the floor every so often, but the taxpayers shouldn't be the ones paying for that "love" when the cops have to show up every time.  Ma and Pa Kettle might chuck beer bottles at each other every payday (or social security check day, etc), but if they want to do it privately they need to do it so that they don't go to the hospital or break the neighbors' windows.

That's true, and then sure as g*d made little green apples one of them will start beating on the other, and we'll have to send both of them to jail.  On second thought, I'm not sure if it's either proportional, or a good use of resources.

Of course, I'm not big on the idea of society protecting people from their own stupidity in the first place;  whenever there is a flood, and somebody drives around the flood barriers and inevitably gets stuck, I am tempted to say don't waste the time rescuing them.


 I think one of the reasons these cases are so hard to analyze and to keep personal opinions out of is due to privacy and individual rights.  In many cases prior to mandatory arrest, the battered wife would not press charges against her abuser, sometimes to protect the family income, but often as not because she was in love with him; "I love him, I just want him to stop beating me"  From my own point of view, I can't understand that perceptive at all, but I do know that it exists.  In addition, society had a view from a long time that domestic violence was not a crime, but a family issue.  I can understand that point of view, and up to a certain limit, hold to it myself...but that limit is pretty short.  A guy is generally bigger, more muscular, and more aggressive then a woman...and he needs to control himself to prevent harm to her;  of course there are situations where the woman is the aggressor, but in those cases she needs to do the same.


One of the factors, in my opinion, in criminal behavior is self-control.  An employed person is more likely to have self-control then an unemployed person, and thus be more responsive to punitive action.

For example, I have a friend that uses weed.  He has a recognizable pattern of behavior regarding employment.  He uses weed and sleeps late, is late to work or misses work, gets chewed out by his boss, develops a persecution complex, intentionally screws up at work or continues to miss work, and then gets mad when he gets fired or gets into a shouting match with his boss and quits with a grand stage exit.  You MIGHT get my friend to work right if you were to stand over him and whack him in the head with a stick constantly, but probably not.  Thankfully, he doesnt beat his wife.

No, not at present, he doesn't.  This is a pattern of get a job, lose a job, get a job, lose a job, repeat.

This is a bit of a digression, but I don't think that poverty causes crime.  I think that crime and poverty are both dependent variables on the independent value of self-control.  There are other factors of course ( having poor parents is likely to cause one to be poor)


If both poverty and crime are dependent on the sane variable, there will always be correlation between them, but not necessarily causation between them.

Most of the "poverty causes crime" theorists push various "redistributive" solutions; Cloward, for example.  Is this a case of the evidence suggesting the theory, or the theory suggesting the evidence?

I didn't make it clear enough, but the studies I mentioned conclude that intervention (arrest, counseling, or separation) does not always work.  The key here is consistency;  a policy that doesn't always work, or that sometimes causes the opposite effect then intended, is not a good policy.
The studies have identified some situations in which the policy works;  [Withheld] has given us an example in which LEO carry a "checklist"to identify domestic violence
So I would say that the conclusion that we do nothing would be a wrong conclusion.  Domestic violence does kill people, it puts people in the hospital, and people suffer other damage from it ( a kid that watches his dad slap his mom around, for example).
But it is hard to identify.  There are ways to beat people without leaving a mark, and conversely a small women CAN be jailed for leaving a mark when she slaps her body-builder husband.  People engaged in consensual BDSM leave various marks on each other.
Even after identification has been made, HOW to deal with it raises questions;  the law that requires mandatory arrest works well when a wife would refuse to charge an abusive bread-winner (or does it?  who wins the bread when the winner is in the slam?  how much should a wife have to endure to feed her kids?  what if she "loves" him enough to put up with abuse? these aren't easy questions)  but it is ridiculous to arrest the wife in the slapping incident above when the husband laughs off the mark on his cheek.  What then if the wife is a body-builder and the husband is a "weakling"?
Maybe the best way to deal with it is multi-layered approach; serious injury requires arrest, visible marks require temporary separation, and the presence of police at all requires counseling.
Which finally brings us to questions of resources; who pays for separation or counseling would be the first question to answer.

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