The injustice of domestic violence policies
October was Domestic Violence (DV) Awareness month, but the flurry of articles, speeches, and calls for increased funding omitted crucial data. Current DV arrest policies are blatantly unjust and need to be reinvented.
Every year, an estimated one million Americans are arrested on DV charges. Typically they spend several days in jail. According to the Criminal Justice Review (pdf), only 30.5 percent of those arrested are convicted. The vast majority of those convicted plead guilty to a lesser crime to avoid trial and possible imprisonment. Thus the percentage of those actually guilty of DV may be considerably lower than 30.5 percent.
If 70 percent of arrested muggers were released without charge, if most of the 30 percent detained were given plea deals, questions would arise about “overzealous” police and prosecutors. With DV the opposite happens. The low conviction rate brings cries for more aggressive policies and prosecution.