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The Effect of Police Use of Force on Mental Health Problems of Prisoners

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2017
16 pages
This study used data collected from a nationally representative sample of prison inmates to examine whether exposure to police use of force during their arrest contributed to mental health problems among these inmates, after controlling for relevant covariates, including pre-existing mental illness.
Police officers have the capacity to use legitimate force to attain compliance, and the gravity associated with officers’ decisions to use force has generated several studies of the influences on these decisions; however, few studies have focused on the consequences that exposure to police use of force has on suspects. The current study found that inmates who were exposed to police use of force during their arrest experienced a greater number of manic and depressive symptoms than inmates who were not exposed to police use of force. The implications of these findings for correctional policy include a consideration of police use of force in needs assessment and recognition of the potential treatment needs of inmates exposed to police use of force during their arrest. (Publisher abstract modified)
Date Published: January 1, 2017