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Executive Summary

The (JOD) or Judicial Oversight Demonstration is designed for feasibility test and coordinated response impact  to the intimate partner violence involving courts and the agencies for justice in central role.  The primary goal of police is to protect the victim safety and hold offenders accountable thus reducing the repeat of offending. JOD model has called for judicial response combining with the coordinated community integrated justice system and services and policies in family and intimate violence (Angene, 2000). JOD has consolidated legal protection gains for the domestic violence victims that were made two decades within the justice agencies and the incorporated lessons on the effective responses to intimate violence that was identified in the studies of law enforcement, the prosecution court specialization, services to the victims, and the coordinated community actions.

The JOD support for the innovation was dismissed or grounded after it was recognized that the challenges for domestic violence cases increase in posing criminal justice agencies and need steps to enhance and protect victims from repeating the same. In 1984 report, the key recommendations of U.S Attorney General force put to task to research and report about the family violence were embodied in JOD. First, violence witnessed by families should be known and responded to as criminal activity (Feinblatt, 2005). Second, the officials who enforce law, judges and prosecutors are supposed to develop coordinated response to the family violence; third, there are wide dispositional range alternatives that are considered in some of the family cases of violence. To add, there was recommendation from the task force arguing that, all the cases prior sentencing, judges are supposed to carefully consider and review consequences of victims crime, and when releasing or granting bail to the assailant on his or her own recognizance, judges are supposed to impose conditions which restricts victim to be accessed by the defendant and enforces the order strictly. However, it is the past years that the criminal courts started assuming leadership roles in coordinated responses through the innovations such us a very specialized domestic violence and courts which have introduced increased judicial support in supervision that is supported by the case management, services to the victim and the required treatment for eligible offenders.

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The JOD initiative national partners come from the U.S. Department of justice violence office Against the Women (OVW), and the (NIJ) national institute of justice found in the justice programs office. Violence against Women offices managed and funded demonstration activities, further; it funded the Vera institute of justice and provides technical assistance that was required for supporting and implementing JOD model. NIJ then funded the (UI) Urban Institute for conducting national evaluation thus supporting community and local evaluation activities. The two primary objectives for evaluations were testing JOD impact interventions on the safety of victims, accountability of offenders and recidivism. The second primary evaluation was to learn from the experiences of very well qualified sites that were given resources and challenged in building collaboration between the communities and the courts agencies to respond to IPV (intimate partner violence).

Introduction

It’s since 1970 that criminal justice system has sought to the transformation of its historically inadequate responsibility to the domestic violence. Before this time, the arrests for domestic violence were reluctant. Domestic violence was considered as private matter instead of it being a crime. Even if the police made arrests, domestic violence cases ended up not being prosecuted or ended up in dismissal due to the lack of the victim cooperation and very few places were having victim services agencies. Courts often lack effective option in holding offenders accountable, particularly in the cases where incarceration was never an appropriate outcome. When responding to activism among feminist, victim’s movements and battered women in 1970’s, an array of a new criminal justice initiatives emerging and included the pro-arrest policies, evidence based prosecution and the specialized units of prosecution (Buzawa, 1996). The changes were also aided through the passage of violence against Women Act in 1994 that established the federal pro-arrest laws with funding mechanisms to the services and research of the victim. One of the results feedbacks for the reforms was massive influx of domestic violence court cases and nationwide. For instance, the reported dramatic huge increase in the criminal domestic violence caseloads that are nationally from the 1989 to the 1999, a period following initial policy that ferment the caseload expansions in 1980’s.

The new federal and the state laws also pertains domestic violence, it was coupled with the exponentially growing caseloads, it provides very important context to rise and specialized on domestic violence courts in 1990s and 2000s. Although the courts vary substantially from the jurisdictions and domestic violence cases in courtrooms that are heard by one or more and specially training judges. The idea here is that, the judges will be having opportunities to gain a substantive expertise in unique and legal and personal issues that are presented by domestic violence cases. Domestic violence correctional facilities arose concurrently with several other court models that are specialized comprises the drug courts, community courts, mental health court. The broad problem solving court movements provides legitimacy with the idea of establishment of specialized courts.

As the movement expanded, it drew maximum attention to important substantive goals that may be achieved through the specialized and substance abuse recovery; improvement of mental health or even recidivism over the time. Such goals have increasingly supplanted and ones focused primarily on efficiency specification advantages, which intended to predominate earlier on. Much of the drug courts, although domestic violence courts arguably started with overflowing problems of the caseloads, the rationale for creation of these courts shifted gradually to problem of domestic violence itself (Keilitz, 2001). The domestic violence courts also seeks to be having positive impact on lives of individual victims on culture that for long had they tolerated the violence between domestic partners. It was approximately two decades after first several domestic violence courts which opened the paper and reflects on where they are coming from and the literature of the research being discussed with their effects. After summary, the current field state was examined by the major findings in research.

Background and Methodology

Judicial demonstration oversight initiative

JOD (Judicial Oversight Demonstration Initiative was financed by the Violence Against Women with the aim of promoting victim safety and the offender accountability and reduction of recidivism in responding to combined and coordinated community services with integrated policies in justice system cases. After the study of JOD in 2000, courts in Dorchester, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and Washtenaw County, Michigan together with prosecutors worked in partnership, the providers of victim’s service, the intervention of batterer programs, probation, police and the other community’s agencies promoting the goals. The core intervention of JOD strategy comprised of the following components:

  • Consistence and uniform   initial responses on the domestic violence that included: the poor arrest policies, arrest and identification of the primary aggressor and the law enforcement coordinated response.        
  • Services and advocacy to coordinated victim: there is contact by the advocates immediately after domestic violence, introduction of individualized safety plan for the children and victim when necessary and providing of necessary services such as protection orders, shelters, and the other assistance.
  • Oversight and accountability of the strong offender: supervision of intensive court-based, referral to the appropriate batterer intervention and other programs required, judicial and administrative sanctions and incentives influencing offender behavior.

In mind, the two long-term goals were the main subject when funding the demonstration: first, learning from experiences of very well qualified sites given resources and also challenged building collaboration between courts and communities agencies responding to the IPV. Second was testing the impact of JOD victim’s interventions on the safety of victim’s safety and accountability offender.

The central hypothesis on the strong judicial oversight of the IPV offender was tested by a designed evaluation, along with the extensive graduated sanctions   for comprehensive services and offenders for the victims, this will contribute to reduction of reoffending, the increase in accountability of defendant and system will also increase the safety of the victim. JOD evaluation drew on number of qualitative and quantitative data sources. It included reviews of the case files from courts, probation, prosecutors and victims service providers. There are two waves of structured interviews with probationers and victims in the court cases; JOD statically data implementation provides sites; qualitative interviews and observations during the site visits; and the groups focus with the victims and the offenders in court cases. The main aim of this volume is documenting the results of series focusing on groups that conducted victims and offenders in each and every JOD site as formative part and evaluation portion process of the study. The data collection method used has its own limitations and advantages. The groups that were focus on conducted supplement quantitative findings from the surveys and allowing open discussion that will allow input on variety of the topics without form or type restriction of the results of received feedback.

The type of information complements quantitative findings providing very important details in narrative on the lives of the programs participation.  The focus groups primary limitation is that, they comprise of very small samples which cannot be assumed and represent JOD offenders and victims population. By development, the focus groups are limited to small number of the participants and permit the in-depth discussion. Although the potential participants were also selected without regarding on individual’s case and characteristic’s from victims list and offenders in JOD cases by the researchers, the ones invited never attended the groups. Thus, there may be no way to know if views of the ones who attended are the representatives of the victims and the offenders in the criminal IPV cases in JOD jurisdictions. 

Most of the police officers know places in our communities that require more police officers attention than the others. The officers know that each and every time they attend to these places might be places that it is unlikely be the last time. When it comes to the term repeat calls for the service may be used in description of this phenomenon, which is defined as noticeable pattern in group of service calls that might not be universally or randomly distributed. The concentration is highly skewed service calls, in relatively fewer locations, and raises very important questions on how police are supposed to deal with the types of calls. Late 1970’s, Herman Goldstein, an American university professor started espousing various ways when thinking about the policing which was designed in shifting emphasis away from the police merely reacting to the incidents for they occurred in examination to the main problems which lay at the heart of particular incident or the number of incidents. The professor argued that, when collaborating with the community by the use of problem solving approaches that was doing more than a simple respond to the incidents and actually attacked underlying causes that created them.

Conclusion

Even though there is a great diversity in the domestic violence court practices and model, many of them have been sharing common goals, for example, offender accountability, court efficiency, reduced recidivism, and the enhancement victim’s safety. Are these goals achieved by the domestic violence courts? Research has revealed that they are very successful in promotion of expedited cases and processing and also tend to associate with the increased victim satisfaction and services to access (Moore, 2004). The courts also appear to be increasing mechanisms used in promotion of offender accountability e.g. program mandates, monitoring, and judicial monitoring. In fact, research has been indicating that, the domestic violence courts are known likely than the non-specialized courts enforcing court orders through imposition of the sanctions for the non-compliance, these includes incarceration and probation revocation. In general, domestic violence impacts on domestic violence court on the future recidivism are equivocal. Further investigation is required in determining how the courts and their partners are effectively deterring re-offending.

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