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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 101046 Find in a Library
Title: Keeping the Peace - The Parameters of Police Discretion in Relation to the Mentally Disordered
Author(s): L A Teplin
Corporate Author: Northwestern University Hospital
United States of America
Date Published: 1986
Page Count: 44
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Northwestern University Hospital
Evanston, IL 60201
US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 81-IJ-CX-4079
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Dataset: DATASET 1
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examines police discretionary use of peacekeeping functions to manage mentally ill persons involved in public order offenses.
Abstract: Persons schooled in the behavioral sciences observed 283 randomly selected police officers in a large Northern city in their daily interactions with citizens for 2,200 hours over 14 months during 1980-1981. The observer determined the presence of mental illness in persons encountered by officers via a symptom checklist. Encounter characteristics were coded with an instrument designed for the study. Overall, 1,382 police-citizen encounters involving 2,255 citizens were observed and coded. Only 4 percent of the citizens exhibited signs of mental disorder. Of the three dispositional options -- arrest, hospitalization, or informal handling -- officers most often handled mentally ill citizens via informal dispositions, but mentally ill persons had a significantly higher arrest rate than 'normal' persons. This was not because of crime differences between the mentally ill and 'normal' persons but rather because of the annoying behavior of the mentally ill persons and the absence of alternative dispositions for restraining them. To reduce the criminalization of nondangerous mentally ill persons, officers should be trained to recognize and manage such persons, and those with misdemeanor charges pending should be treated in a mental health facility. An integrated care-giving system should reduce the number of persons who are managed primarily by the criminal justice system. Tabular data and 89 references.
Main Term(s): Police-citizen interactions
Index Term(s): Arrest and apprehension; Mentally ill offenders; Police discretion; Police policies and procedures; Public order offenses
Note: NIJ Research Report
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