A Domestic Violence Offenders Program is Working in Clinton:
Studies show that 1 in 4 women in the U.S. have experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner. MPB’s Lawayne Childrey reports on a program in Clinton, Mississippi that holds domestic offenders accountable.
The Clinton Police Department in Hinds County has seen its number of domestic violence cases cut in half over the past year. Clinton Municipal Court Administrator, Tamara Morgan says it’s the result of a new approach that focuses on rehabilitation.
“Because a lot of time the offender or the victim has lived in domestic violence all through their life. You know they came from a home like that. And just putting someone in jail or making them pay fines that’s not really changing the way they look at things.”
Offenders in Clinton are ordered into a batterer’s intervention program. It’s conducted by the Center for Domestic Violence in Pearl. Executive Director, Sandy Middleton says the program is based on the Duluth model which uses video that demonstrates different types of power and control that offenders often use over their victims.
“It’s really remarkable when you see the looks on their faces when they’re seeing it on the screen. And then they have to examine themselves. And for many of them they have never seen themselves as an abuser before.”
Many other domestic violence rehabilitation programs only deal with behavior. That’s why Middleton says her organization recently decided to use the Duluth model which is named after a program in Minnesota and has a 30 year record of success.
“Because these guys don’t just blowup at anybody they save it until they get home. That’s why it takes a particular curriculum that’s tailored to the offender to really make a change. Because they have a core set of beliefs that they have the right to demonstrate power and control over their intimate partner.”
Since adopting the rehabilitation program last year Clinton police officials say they have seen only a one percent rate of repeat offenders. The program is so successful that the Attorney General is asking Mississippi lawmakers to consider implementing a similar program statewide.
Lawayne Childrey MPB News.