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Program Profile: Rochester (N.Y.) Domestic Violence Court Judicial Monitoring

Evidence Rating: No Effects - One study No Effects - One study

Date: This profile was posted on May 01, 2014

Program Summary

A program designed to provide judicial monitoring by the court and involved frequent court appearances by the offender before a judge. The goal was to ensure compliance with court-mandated program requirements and other court orders, deter future violence and re-abuse of victims. The program is rated No Effects. The evaluation found that the judicial monitoring made no impact on rearrests, on mandated program attendance or completion.

This program’s rating is based on evidence that includes at least one high-quality randomized controlled trial.

Program Description

Program Goal
The Rochester (N.Y.) Domestic Violence (DV) Court Judicial Monitoring program was designed to provide judicial monitoring by the court, which involved frequent court appearances by the domestic violence offender before a judge. The goal was to ensure compliance with program requirements and other court orders, and deter future violence and re-abuse of victims. The court imposed sanctions in cases of noncompliance and rewarded offenders with incentives in cases of compliance.

Target Population
The program was designed to provide judicial monitoring to domestic violence offenders who had been ordered to participate in a court-mandated program (including batterer programs or substance abuse treatment programs). The judicial monitoring was conducted in addition to the services received by the offenders in the mandated programs.

Program Components
Protocols were developed to specify:

  • The schedule for court appearances under judicial monitoring
  • A schedule of sanctions and incentives to be used in response to compliance or noncompliance
  • A “script” for judges to follow in their interactions with offenders 

Schedule for court appearances: Offenders received a court appearance date for their first postdisposition monitoring for 2 weeks after sentencing. The protocol specified a schedule of appearances every 2 weeks initially. Subsequent dates could be more or less frequent, depending on the compliance of the individual with court orders and program requirements (for example, if the offender was compliant, the appearances could be changed to every 3 weeks; if the offender was noncompliant, the appearances could be changed to weekly).

Sanctions and incentives: Infractions on the part of the offender were linked to sanctions. Sanctions could include verbal admonishments, more frequent court reporting, jail, restarting a program, and electronic monitoring. Conversely, compliance or achievements—such as complying with a court mandate or obtaining a GED or employment—were linked to incentives, such as praise from the judge or a reduction in the frequency of court appearances.

Script for the judges: This component was developed as a framework to guide judges through their interactions with offenders. During appearances, the judge was expected to:

  • Review behavioral expectations and consequences of noncompliance
  • Verify offender compliance with court orders and program mandates
  • Apply incentives and sanctions as determined by the sanction schedule
  • Directly interact with the offender
  • Set a return-to-court date and explain explicitly reasons for any changes in the monitoring schedule
  • Repeat that a protective order was in effect and program rules must be followed

Key Personnel
In some judicial monitoring programs, offenders may report to a judge, to a compliance officer, or to a referee. In the Rochester DV Court, all judicial monitoring was provided by judges.

Program Theory
Advocates of judicial monitoring often suggest that reductions in recidivism can be explained by deterrence theory, which predicts that increased surveillance will deter future violence. Some studies suggest that reductions in recidivism should be attributed to offenders’ perceptions of procedural justice—that is, that compliance increases when offenders believe that the procedure, courts, and/or judges are fair.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Rearrests
Labriola and colleagues (2012) found that the Rochester (N.Y.) Domestic Violence (DV) Court Judicial Monitoring program made no impact on rearrests. The differences between the two groups were nonsignificant. 

Attendance/completions
Overall, judicial monitoring made no impact on program attendance or program completion between the two groups. The differences between the two groups were nonsignificant.

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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Labriola and colleagues (2012) used an experimental design to assess the impact of a judicial monitoring program in two Rochester (N.Y.) domestic violence courts on future violence. The study included offenders enrolled between October 2006 and December 2009. Three judges participated in the study.

To be included in the study, offenders had to be either a) convicted and sentenced to a conditional discharge or probation or b) disposed with an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (ACD). All offenders had to be ordered to either a batterer program or substance abuse treatment.  A total of 155 individuals were recruited into the study. They were randomly assigned to either the treatment condition (program enrollment plus judicial monitoring, n=85) or a control condition (program enrollment only, n=70). Eight participants were later excluded from the study: six were excluded from the treatment group because they were the only participants in the study sample arrested on violent felony charges; another two were excluded from the analysis because of missing data. The final sample consisted of 147 offenders (77 treatment group participants; 70 control group participants).

Treatment group participants received program treatment plus judicial monitoring. Control group participants were returned to court only if noncompliance would result in resentencing (e.g., a rearrest or program termination). Control group participants were also assigned a single return court date 8 months postrandomization for the offender interview.

The two groups were very similar on baseline characteristics. The two groups were compared on 45 baseline characteristics, and only 4 comparisons were significant. Compared with control group participants, treatment group offenders were

  • More likely to have been arrested for a violent felony charge (these cases were excluded from the analysis)
  • Less likely to have a prior conviction on any charge
  • More likely to have a prior conviction on a violent felony offense
  • Less likely to be disposed with an ACD disposition as opposed to a conviction

The groups had similar demographic characteristics. The average age was 33.9 years for the treatment group and 34.6 years for the control group. The racial/ethnic composition of the samples was as follows: black, 55 percent and 45 percent for the treatment and control groups, respectively; Hispanic/Latino, 18 percent and 22 percent; white, 27 percent and 32 percent; and Asian, 0 percent and 1 percent.

Official data records were collected from the Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) Application and the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. The IDV application was filled in by the court’s analyst and used to track program mandates/attendance, court appearances, and offender compliance. Arrest data was collected 1 year postdisposition.

Bivariate analyses were performed to determine whether there were statistically significant differences in outcomes between the two groups and to assess whether any of the independent variables (e.g., number of court appearances) were significantly related to outcomes of interest.

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Cost

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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Other Information

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Overall, judicial monitoring made no differential impact on program attendance or program completion between the two groups. However, results varied for the treatment group participants, depending on the judge assigned to the case. Offenders monitored by the one judge who did not incentivize achievements (such as scheduling or attending an orientation for a mandated program, or obtaining a GED or employment) attended significantly more program sessions and were more likely to complete assigned programs than offenders assigned to judges who incentivized achievement by reducing monitoring frequency.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Labriola, Melissa, Amanda B. Cissner, Robert C. Davis, and Michael Rempel. 2012. Testing the Efficacy of Judicial Monitoring: A Randomized Trial at the Rochester, New York, Domestic Violence Courts. New York, N.Y.: Center for Court Innovation.
http://www.courtinnovation.org/sites/default/files/documents/Testing_Efficacy_Judicial_Monitoring.pdf
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Related Practices

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Following are CrimeSolutions.gov-rated practices that are related to this program:

Domestic Violence Courts
This specialty court practice follows the problem-solving court model, and is for individuals charged with domestic violence. In addition to judicial oversight, participants may receive other programming to address substance use or mental health issues or receive referrals to batterer intervention programs. Partnerships are established with judges, mental health workers, social services, and police. The practice is rated Promising for reducing general recidivism and violent, domestic recidivism.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Violent offenses
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Program Snapshot

Age: 18+

Gender: Male

Race/Ethnicity: Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, White

Geography: Suburban, Urban

Setting (Delivery): Courts

Program Type: Domestic Violence Court, Violence Prevention, Specific deterrence

Targeted Population: Serious/Violent Offender

Current Program Status: Not Active