Lessons learned from the implementation of two randomized trials in a criminal court setting
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Randomized trials represent the most rigorous type of research design to measure the impact of a social policy intervention. However, such designs are difficult to implement and require the consent of multiple parties, including researchers and non-researchers. Unique challenges arise when seeking to implement such a design in a criminal court setting, due to the need to revise legal procedures, uphold due process for defendants, and obtain the direct, ongoing participation of judges and attorneys, among other stakeholders. The current principals recently conducted two randomized trials concerning the court response to intimate partner violence: one testing the impact of court-ordered batterer programs in the Bronx, New York, and a second testing the impact of intensive judicial monitoring in Rochester, New York. Key lessons involved forging collaborative stakeholder relationships, critically assessing the experimental intervention and its contrast with the control condition, ensuring legal due process for defendants, addressing victim safety, setting realistic timetables, adopting a skeptical view towards estimates of study volume, and anticipating substantial variation from original design to final plan, especially in regards to randomization protocols and defendant eligibility criteria. These lessons may prove invaluable in informing future research in court-based and other social settings where random assignment is pursued.
- Angene, L (2000) Evaluation report for the San Diego County domestic violence courts. San Diego Superior Court, San Diego, CA
- Angrist, JD (2006) Instrumental variables methods in experimental criminological research: what, why, and how. Journal of Experimental Criminology 2: pp. 23-44 CrossRef
- Babb, B (1998) Where we stand: an analysis of America's family law adjudicatory systems and the mandate to establish Unified Family Courts. Family Law Quarterly 32: pp. 31-65
- Babcock, J, Green, C, Robie, C (2004) Does batterers' treatment work? A meta-analytic review of domestic violence treatment. Clinical Psychology Review 23: pp. 1023-1053 CrossRef
- Bennett, L., & Williams, O. (2001). Controversies and recent studies of batterer intervention program effectiveness. Harrisburg, PA: VAWnet, a project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence/Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Retrieved from http://www.vawnet.org.
- Berk, RA, Smyth, GA, Sherman, LW (1988) When random assignment fails: some lessons from the Minneapolis spouse abuse experiment. Journal of Quantitative Criminology 4: pp. 209-223 CrossRef
- Boruch, RF (1997) Randomized experiments for planning and evaluation. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA
- Davis, R. C., Taylor, B. G., & Maxwell, C. M. (2000). Does batterer treatment reduce violence: A randomized experiment in Brooklyn. Final report to the National Institute of Justice. New York, NY: Victim Services (now Safe Horizon).
- Dunford, FW (2000) The San Diego Navy experiment: an assessment of interventions for men who assault their wives. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 68: pp. 468-476 CrossRef
- Feder, LR, Dugan, L (2002) A test of the efficacy of court-mandated counseling for domestic violence offenders: the Broward County experiment.. Justice Quarterly 19: pp. 343-375 CrossRef
- Feder, L, Wilson, DB (2005) A meta-analytic review of court-mandated batterer intervention programs: can courts affect abusers’ behavior?. Journal of Experimental Criminology 1: pp. 239-262 CrossRef
- Feder, L, Jolin, A, Feyerherm, W (2000) Lessons from two randomized experiments in criminal justice settings. Crime & Delinquency 46: pp. 380-400 CrossRef
- Garner, J., & Visher, C. (1988). Experiments help shape new policies (Report No. 211). Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice Reports.
- Gartin, PR (1995) Dealing with design failures in randomized field experiments: analytic issues regarding the evaluation of treatment effects. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 32: pp. 425-445 CrossRef
- Gondolf, E (1998) The impact of mandatory court review on batterer program compliance: An evaluation of the Pittsburgh Municipal Courts and Domestic Violence Abuse Counseling Center (DACC). Mid-Atlantic Training Institute, Indiana, PA
- Gondolf, EW (2002) Batterer intervention systems: Issues, outcomes and recommendations. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA
- Gondolf, EW (2004) Evaluating batterer counseling programs: a difficult task showing some effects and implications. Aggression and Violent Behavior 9: pp. 605-631 CrossRef
- Harrell, A., Cavanagh, S., & Roman, J. (1998). Findings from the evaluation of the D.C. Superior Court Drug Intervention Program. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.
- Harrell, A., Newmark, L., Visher, C., & Castro, J. (2007). Final report on the evaluation of the judicial oversight demonstration, volume 1: The impact of JOD in Dorchester and Washtenaw County. Final report for the National Institute of Justice. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.
- Labriola, M., Rempel, M., & Davis, R. C. (2005). Testing the effectiveness of batterer programs and judicial monitoring: Results from a randomized trial at the Bronx Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Court. Report submitted to the National Institute of Justice, New York, NY: Center for Court Innovation.
- Labriola, M, Rempel, M, Davis, RC (2008) Do batterer programs reduce recidivism? Results from a randomized trial in the Bronx.. Justice Quarterly 25: pp. 252-282 CrossRef
- Labriola, M, Rempel, M, Finklestein, R, O’Sullivan, CS, Frank, PB, McDowell, J (2007) Court responses to batterer program noncompliance: A national perspective. Report submitted to the National Institute of Justice. Center for Court Innovation, New York, NY
- Labriola, M, Bradley, S, O’Sullivan, S, Rempel, M, Moore, S (2009) A national portrait of domestic violence courts. Center for Court Innovation, New York, NY
- Mazur, R, Aldrich, L (2003) What makes a domestic violence court work? Key issues. Center for Court Innovation, New York, NY
- Marlowe, D, Festinger, D, Lee, P, Schepise, M, Hazzard, J, Merrill, J, Mulvaney, F, McLellan, T (2003) Are judicial status hearings a ‘key component’ of drug courts? During treatment data from a randomized trial. Criminal Justice and Behavior 30: pp. 141-162 CrossRef
- Office of Justice Programs. (1997). Defining drug courts: The key components. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs and Alexandria, VA: National Association of Drug Court Professionals.
- O’Sullivan, C. (2009). The practice implications of research on batterer programs: Validity of experimental, quasi-experimental and non-experimental studies. Philadelphia, PA: American Society of Criminology Conference.
- Palmer, S, Brown, R, Barerra, M (1992) Group treatment program for abusive husbands. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 62: pp. 276-283 CrossRef
- Petersilia, J (1989) Implementing randomized experiments: lessons learned from BJA’s intensive supervision program. Evaluation Review 13: pp. 435-458 CrossRef
- Rempel, M Batterer programs and beyond. In: Stark, E, Buzawa, ES eds. (2009) Violence against women in families and relationships, volume three: Criminal justice and the law. Praeger, Santa Barbara, CA, pp. 179-200
- Rempel, M, Labriola, L, Davis, RC (2008) Does judicial monitoring deter domestic violence recidivism? Results of a quasi-experimental comparison in the Bronx. Violence Against Women 14: pp. 185-207 CrossRef
- Ross, CJ (1998) The failure of fragmentation: the promise of a system of Unified Family Courts. Family Law Quarterly 1: pp. 3-30
- Weisburd, D (2000) Random experiments in criminal justice policy: prospects and problems. Crime & Delinquency 46: pp. 181-193 CrossRef
- Weisburd, D (2003) Ethical practice and evaluations of interventions in crime and justice: the moral imperative for randomized trials. Evaluation Review 27: pp. 336-354 CrossRef
- Weiss, CH (1998) Evaluations: Methods for studying programs and policies. Prentice Hall, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ
- Lessons learned from the implementation of two randomized trials in a criminal court setting
Journal of Experimental Criminology
Volume 6, Issue 4 , pp 447-473
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Randomized trial
- Threats to validity
- Intimate partner violence
- Industry Sectors