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Mandatory Legal Interventions, Power, and Intimate Abusers
“This is an ambitious book that has important implications for our theoretical understanding of the effects of criminal justice interventions on people arrested for domestic violence and for our evaluations of the practical utility of presumptive arrest and prosecution for violence.”—Kristin L. Anderson, Western Washington University
“I have been working in this general area for more than 30 years and have recently published a book focusing on the criminal justice response to abuse. But, I learned a considerable amount from this book and found myself underlining whole passages to think more about. So it is stimulating, not merely informative.”—Evan Stark, Rutgers University
Over the last decade, police departments and state’s attorney’s offices across the country have adopted mandatory arrest and no-drop prosecution policies to handle cases of intimate abuse. In addition to protecting victims from future violence, these policies are intended to change abusers by punishing them for their behavior. Emerging at a time when various dimensions of U.S. society are being ‘governed through crime,’ mandatory arrest and no-drop prosecution have proven controversial. While critics charge that the policies disempower women by removing decision making from them and aggravate the negative consequences of criminal justice interventions in poor and minority communities, proponents maintain that the measures are needed to protect battered women and provide them the same legal protections afforded to other victims of violent crime. Somewhat overlooked in this debate has been how mandatory arrest and no-drop prosecution affect abusers, a critical question for understanding the power of criminal punishment to combat intimate partner abuse.
(2009) 228 pp., illus.
Keith Guzik is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Bloomfield College in New Jersey.
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