Free Essay On Mandatory Arrest Law: Opposing Views
The scope of mandatory arrest policies can be traced to the 1970’s when various women rights groups raised concerns regarding police negligence in handling matters regarding domestic violence lawsuits. Speaking of mandatory arrest policies, this connotes to domestic violence statutes that necessitate police to arrest a suspected batterer, irrespective of the wishes or evidence from the victim (Hirschel et al., 2007). In a nutshell, mandatory arrest laws or policies allow police officers to implement arrest on incidents aligned with domestic violence minus a warrant. The inception of mandatory arrest laws and policies was viewed as a positive initiative by the criminal justice system in addressing domestic violence related issues. While it is true that mandatory arrests play a colossal role in circumventing problems resulting from domestic violence, there is the need to comprehend the fact mandatory arrest laws and policies exhibit a wider array of flaws. For this purpose, mandatory arrest policies should not be utilized.
The first reason that supports that notion that mandatory arrest policies should not be utilized aligns with the fact that such policies have resulted in the arrest of victims rather than the victimizers. Despite the fact that violence crimes have a clear distinction between the “victimizer” and “victim,” the implementation of mandatory arrest laws has and continues to offer a comprehensive platform that encourages the arrest of victims. This is attributed to the fact that mandatory arrest policies disregard the fact that there are certain instances where victims, especially women, are forced to use violence to protect themselves from the offenders; victimizer (Dichter, 2013). Mandatory arrest laws are often guided by the premise that the person who has been inflicted injury is the one who is in the wrong. This may not be the case in instances where victims are prompted to use violence as a means of protecting themselves. Conclusively, police lack the capacity to determine the reason behind a certain behaviour, which, in this case, is violence for self-defence. This often results in the arrest of victims at the expense of the offenders; victimizers. It is on this basis that mandatory arrest laws should be repealed.
The second reason as to why mandatory arrest policies should not be utilized aligns with the fact that it is often difficult to differentiation victims and offenders in domestic violence cases. In fact, there are certain cases where domestic violence offenders have manipulated law enforcement officers into believing that they are the victims. This often prompts the police to err in arresting the victim and not the offender. Many at times, offenders come up with false claims that the victim is the predominant aggressor. As an example, offenders may inflict wounds on themselves, which makes the police view the victims are the aggressor (Dichter, 2013). Due to the fact that mandatory policies do not have clauses that dictate the means through which such claims can be substantiated, victims often find themselves arrested; hence infringing on the victim’s freedoms. In fact, mandatory arrest policies do not dictate the means through which police can distinguish victims from offenders. This hinders clear-cut determination of whom police should arrested in domestic violence incidents.
In addition, mandatory arrest policies should not be utilized because of the fact that these policies infringe on an individual’s right to self-determination. Certainly, violence amongst intimate partners are private; hence, should be resolved by the partners involved. Mandatory arrest policies offer a platform that allows state authority to infringe on people’s lives. With regards to this, Miller & Peterson (2007) asserts “ expansion of state authority to intrude into people’s lives may be unwarranted in the area of domestic violence ” This justifies the notion that mandatory arrest policies should not be utilized. Instead, mandatory arrest laws should only be utilized in cases where a victim request for the use of such policies.
On another note, mandatory arrest policies should not be utilized because they do not cushion victims from the repercussions resulting from their use. Worth noting is the fact that partners arrested for waging violence on their partners will eventually reunite, perhaps after completing their incineration terms. During such instances, the victims will often be filled with guilt, and this damages their self-confidence. In fact, offenders may later harm the victims after being arrested and released. This shows that mandatory arrest policies alone does not serve the larger purpose of protecting victims of domestic violence. Arguably, mandatory arrest laws and policies should be merged with well-coordinated community responses that would guarantee safety and protection of domestic violence victims (Miller & Peterson, 2007).
Mandatory arrest policies were initiated with the sole intent of empowering victims of domestic violence, especially women. These policies have played a role in reducing cases of battering across various contexts. Even so, there are various flaws associated with the mandatory policies, which limit their effectiveness in curbing domestic violence. These flaws; that have been discussed in the previous section justify the need to do away with the mandatory arrest policies. In conclusion, mandatory policies, despite their intuitive appeal, and good intentions have resulted in a wider array of social problems (Miller & Peterson, 2007), which calls for the need to repeal the use of the said policies.
Dichter, M. (2013). “They Arrested Me-and I was the Victim”: Women’s Experiences with Getting Arrested in the Context of Domestic Violence. Women & Criminal Justice, 23(2), 81-98.
Hirschel, D., Buzawa, E., Pattavina, A., & Faggiani, D. (2007). Domestic Violence and Mandatory Arrest Laws: To What Extent Do They Influence Police Arrest Decisions. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 98(1), 255-298.
Miller, S. & Peterson, E. (2007). It’s a Crime: Women and Justice: Chapter 14: The Impact of Law Enforcement Policies on Victims of Intimate Partner Violence. Boston: Prentice Hall.