National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Testing the Impact of Batterer Intervention Programs and Court Monitoring in the Bronx [New York City, New York], 2002-2004 (ICPSR 21900)

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

The purpose of this study was to provide a definitive test of whether batterer programs and varying intensities of judicial monitoring reduce reoffending among domestic violence offenders. Study enrollment took place between July 23, 2002, through February 27, 2004. In Part 1, Batterer Program Experiment Data, convicted male domestic violence offenders from court parts AP10 (Pretrial Appearances) or TAP2 (Trials) of the Bronx Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Court were randomly assigned into one of four experimental conditions. The four conditions were batterer program plus monthly judicial monitoring (n = 102), batterer program plus graduated monitoring (n = 100), monthly monitoring only (n = 109), and graduated monitoring only (n = 109). Defendants assigned to a batterer program completed either the Domestic Violence Accountability Program (DVAP) run by Safe Horizon or the Men's Choices Program run by the Fordham Tremont Community Mental Health Center. The offenders were tracked for at least 12 months after sentencing, and for up to 18 months for most of the men, to determine whether they fulfilled the conditions of their sentence, were rearrested for domestic violence, or were reported by the victim to have engaged in new incidents of abuse. Using each offender's New York State criminal identification number, complete criminal record files, including prior criminal history and recidivism, were obtained from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). Victims were interviewed about new domestic incidents committed within one year of sentencing. In Part 2, Monitoring Experiment Data, a quasi-experimental study using propensity score matching compared recidivism outcomes between the randomized offenders in Part 1 and a control group of conditional discharge (CD) offenders convicted of identical offenses, but who, as a result of the normal sentencing process, received neither a batterer program nor any form of monitoring. The propensity score predicted the probability of inclusion in the randomized trial (Part 1) sample, based not on actual membership in that sample, but on the statistical probability of membership in it, as computed from the observed set of background characteristics. Each offender in the randomized trial was then matched to the offender in the CD only group with the nearest propensity score. Sometimes multiple offenders from the the initial trial were matched to the same CD only offender. Variables in both Part 1 and Part 2 of the data set include demographic variables for both the defendants and victims, defendant arrest history, current sentence, assignment to a batterer program, type of judicial monitoring, and victim reports of new incidents of violence after sentencing.

Access Notes

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Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
Documentation:
DS1:  Batterer Program Experiment Data
Documentation:
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No downloadable data files available.
DS2:  Monitoring Experiment Data
Documentation:
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No downloadable data files available.

Study Description

Citation

Labriola, Melissa, Michael Rempel, and Robert C. Davis. Testing the Impact of Batterer Intervention Programs and Court Monitoring in the Bronx [New York City, New York], 2002-2004. ICPSR21900-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2008-04-21. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR21900.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2001-WT-BX-0506)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   abuse, battered women, court system, domestic violence, intervention, intervention strategies, recidivism, recidivism prediction, sentencing, spouse abuse, treatment outcome, treatment programs, violence against women

Smallest Geographic Unit:   none

Geographic Coverage:   New York City, New York, United States

Time Period:  

  • 2002-07-23--2004-02-27

Date of Collection:  

  • 2002-07-23--2005-02-27

Unit of Observation:   individual

Universe:   All offenders convicted of a violation sentenced to conditional discharge in court parts AP10 (Pretrial Appearances) or TAP2 (Trials) of the Bronx Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Court from July 23, 2002, through February 27, 2004, and their victims.

Data Types:   administrative records data, and survey data

Data Collection Notes:

(1) Users of this data are encouraged to see Chapter 3 of the final report for additional information on the Bronx Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Court (BxMDVC), batterer treatment programs, judicial monitoring practices, and the propensity score matching process. (2) The qualitative data collected from offender interviews (n = 7) are not available as part of this data collection.

Methodology

Study Purpose:  

The purpose of this study was to provide a definitive test of whether batterer programs and varying intensities of judicial monitoring reduce reoffending among domestic violence offenders. The study was designed to ensure that the effects of batterer programs and judicial monitoring could be distinguished, so that the impact of one practice would not be mistakenly attributed to the other. The study sought to answer three primary questions:

  1. Do batterer programs work?

  2. Is judicial monitoring more effective if implemented in a more flexible or "graduated" manner?

  3. Is judicial monitoring more effective than the complete absence thereof?

Study Design:  

This study was designed to distinguish the effects of batterer programs and judicial monitoring on the future violent behavior of domestic violence offenders. In Part 1, Batterer Program Experiment Data, convicted male domestic violence offenders were randomly assigned to four experimental conditions. Study enrollment took place between July 23, 2002, through February 27, 2004. The process of random assignment began once the prosecutor and defense attorney in court parts AP10 (Pretrial Appearances) or TAP2 (Trials) indicated that they were prepared to accept a plea to a violation and a sentence of a conditional discharge, order of protection, and a batterer program with monthly monitoring (the preexisting status quo). Provided that the judge did not choose to exclude the case from the study, the judge then read from a standard study allocation script that the judges in the domestic violence court parts developed themselves. The script described in detail each of the four groups to which the defendant could be sentenced. While the original script was a two-page, five-minute long explanation, it was abbreviated over time, with each judge making personal revisions. If the defendant agreed to accept the offer at this point, understanding that there were four possible sentencing outcomes, a bench conference was held. During this conference, either the resource coordinator or the project senior research associate performed the random assignment by shaking and then removing from a cup one of four pieces of folded paper on which were written numbers 1 through 4, representing the four study groups. The four conditions were defined as:

  1. Batterer program plus monthly judicial monitoring (n = 102): Offenders in this group were assigned to attend a batterer program and to make monthly appearances before the Judicial Hearing Officer (JHO) in court part post-sentencing compliance monitoring (DVC). The JHO monitored the defendant's progress in the program, compliance with orders of protection, avoidance of rearrests, and compliance with other conditions imposed by the sentencing judge.

  2. Batterer program plus graduated monitoring (n = 100): Offenders in this group were assigned to attend a batterer program. They were also required to appear before the JHO, but on a graduated schedule. Those in compliance throughout the monitoring period were required to report to DVC at four weeks post-sentence for their initial appearance, and then at 10 weeks, 18 weeks, and 26 weeks. Those out of compliance at any time were required to reappear in DVC two weeks and then four weeks after the determination of noncompliance. They were then returned to the graduated schedule.

  3. Monthly monitoring only (n = 109): Offenders in this group were required to appear monthly before the JHO, as in the first group, but were not required to attend a batterer program. The JHO monitored attendance at scheduled court appearances and compliance with all existing orders of protection, and would respond to any serious infraction or rearrest.

  4. Graduated monitoring only (n = 109): As with offenders in the second group, offenders in this group were required to appear for graduated monitoring before the JHO, but were not required to attend a batterer program. Also, as with the third group, compliance monitoring focused on attendance at scheduled court appearances, compliance with orders of protection, and avoidance of rearrests.

Before the defense attorney and defendant left the courtroom, the resource coordinator or research associate gave each a sheet, available in English or Spanish, summarizing the offender's responsibilities. After receiving other paperwork from the court, offenders assigned to the two groups required to attend a batterer program proceeded to the defendant monitors' office. One of the defendant monitors conducted a brief intake interview and offenders assigned to attend a batterer program (groups 1 and 2) were mandated to either the Domestic Violence Accountability Program (DVAP) run by Safe Horizon or the Men's Choices Program run by the Fordham Tremont Community Mental Health Center. The research associate also created a research case file including the date of the first scheduled appearance in DVC, case and offender identifiers, charge information, disposition, sentencing date, experimental assignment, victim name, and victim contact information. The offenders were tracked for at least twelve months after sentencing, and for up to eighteen months for most of the men, to determine whether they fulfilled the conditions of their sentence, were rearrested for domestic violence, or were reported by the victim to have engaged in new incidents of abuse. Using each offender's New York State criminal identification number, complete criminal record files, including prior criminal history and recidivism, were obtained from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). The DCJS records did not indicate whether arrests in the criminal record involve domestic violence, so this information was obtained separately, with the assistance of staff from the Office of the Chief Administrative Judge of New York City.

Victims were interviewed about new domestic incidents committed within one year of sentencing. Research staff at Safe Horizon, the local victim services organization, were trained in a daylong orientation sessions on how to interact with victims and protect victim safety. Interviewers were instructed not to leave messages on answering machines and to ensure that victims were in a safe environment before asking them to complete the 10-minute interview. Victims who completed telephone interviews were given 25-dollar stipends. In cases where victims could not be reached by phone, Safe Horizon staff attempted home visits to encourage victims to call research staff for an interview. When that procedure yielded little in the way of additional interviews, it was discarded in favor of sending letters to unreachable victims, offering a 50-dollar incentive for victims to participate in interviews.

In Part 2, a quasi-experimental study was used to compare recidivism outcomes between the randomized offenders in Part 1 and a control group of offenders convicted of identical offenses, but who, as a result of the normal sentencing process, received neither a batterer program nor any form of monitoring. Researchers identified 712 conditional discharge (CD) only cases sentenced in the court part AP10 or TAP2 during the same time period as Part 1. This regression yielded a propensity score for each offender. The propensity score predicted the probability of inclusion in the randomized trial (Part 1) sample, based not on actual membership in that sample, but on the statistical probability of membership in it, as computed from the observed set of background characteristics. Each offender in the randomized trial was then matched to the offender in the CD only group with the nearest propensity score. Sometimes multiple offenders from the the initial trial were matched to the same CD only offender. This method lead to 387 offenders from the randomized trial being matched to 219 CD only offenders.

Sample:   For Part 1, eligible offenders were convicted of a violation and sentenced to a conditional discharge in court parts AP10 (Pretrial Appearances) or TAP2 (Trials) of the Bronx Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Court from July 23, 2002 through February 27, 2004, with acceptance of a batterer program condition by both prosecution and defense prior to randomization. The sentencing judge retained the discretion to exclude particular offenders from randomization. One year after the offender's sentencing, interviewers attempted to establish phone contact with all victims except those who those who had earlier indicated to Safe Horizon that they did not want to be contacted. Attempts to contact each eligible victim were made at least five times or more, with at least three attempts coming during evening or weekend hours. For Part 2, of the 712 conditional discharge (CD) cases, 113 were immediately discarded because they did not involve an intimate partner relationship. Reseachers performed t test comparing the experimental and CD only samples on all known background characteristics to determine, what, if any, significant differences existed. Then all characteristics on which differences existed at the .10 level or better were entered into a logistic regression, for which the the dependent variable was sample membership. This regression yielded a propensity score for each offender. The propensity score predicted the probability of inclusion in the randomized trial (Part 1) sample, based not on actual membership in that sample, but on the statistical probability of membership in it, as computed from the observed set of background characteristics.

Weight:   none

Mode of Data Collection:   record abstracts, telephone interview

Data Source:

Data for this collection were obtained from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), the Office of the Chief Administrative Judge of New York City, and telephone interviews with victims of domestic violence.

Description of Variables:   Both Part 1 and Part 2 contain defendant demographic and arrest variables. Demographic variables include defendant age, gender, race, and relationship to the victim. Other demographic variables include living situation, length of time at current residence, education level, if employed, and length of time at current employment. Arrest variables include date of arrest, sentence type, injury to the victim, if the defendant was assigned to a batterer program, and type of judicial monitoring. Variables on the batterer program include which program the defendant was assigned to and date of program termination. Variables on judicial monitoring include the number of court appearances, dates of court appearances, status at each court appearance, and length of monitoring. Also included are variables on the number of warrants issued during the monitoring program, the number and dates of noncompliant events, and if the defendant was resentenced. Variables on the number and type of prior arrests, and case processing time are included. Both Parts 1 and 2 also contain variables from the victim interviews. Demographic variables, such as relationship to defendant, date of birth, education level, source of income, place of birth, and race are included. Other variables from the victim interviews include how often the victim saw the defendant at the time of arrest, if the victim wanted the defendant arrested, what the victim wanted instead of arrest, if the Judge issued an order of protection, and if victim wanted the order of protection. Other variables asked about the effect of the sentence on the relationship between the victim and the defendant, if the victim has had any contact with the defendant since the arrest, and if the defendant had been violent in any way with the victim since the arrest and sentencing.

Response Rates:   During the sampling period for Part 1, 489 defendants were identified as eligible for the study. Judges used their discretion to exclude 69 (14 percent) of this eligible pool, resulting in a final sample of 420 offenders. The contact rate for victim interviews was 25 percent (n = 106).

Presence of Common Scales:   Several Likert-type scales were used, as well as Straus' (1979) Conflict Tactics Scale

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

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