Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 3-28

First online:

Published findings from the spouse assault replication program: A critical review

  • Joel GarnerAffiliated withSchool of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University
  • , Jeffrey FaganAffiliated withSchool of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University
  • , Christopher MaxwellAffiliated withInstitute for Social Research, University of Michigan

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Published reports from seven jointly developed experiments have addressed whether or not arrest is an effective deterrent to misdemeanor spouse assault. Findings supporting a deterrent effect, no effect, and an escalation effect have been reported by the original authors and in interpretations of the published findings by other authors. This review found many methodologically defensible approaches used in these reports but not one of these approaches was used consistently in all published reports. Tables reporting the raw data on the prevalence and incidence of repeat incidents are presented to provide a more consistent comparison across all seven experiments. This review concludes that the available information is incomplete and inadequate for a definitive statement about the results of these experiments. Researchers and policy makers are urged to use caution in interpreting the findings available to date.

Key words

violence deterrence spouse assault experiment