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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 97430 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Keeping the Peace - The Commonalities and Individualities of Police Discretion - Final Report
Author(s): L A Teplin
Date Published: Unknown
Page Count: 67
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 1-0330-1-TL-IJ
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
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examines some of the peacekeeping aspects of policing, with special attention to the exercise of police discretion in handling mentally ill persons.
Abstract: Police officers in a large northern city were observed in their interactions with citizens for approximately 2,200 hours over a 14-month period during 1980-1981; 283 randomly selected officers were observed, and quantitative and qualitative data were recorded. Attention focuses on the basic decision rules central to three major alternatives available to police in managing mentally ill persons: hospitalization, arrest, and informal disposition. Factors influencing the choice of each of the three dispositions are discussed, and the dispositional decision is portrayed as a complex construction of reality, related only peripherally to the degree of psychiatric symptomatology manifested in the citizen. Further, based on quantified data from an observational study of 1,382 police-citizen encounters, the arrest rate of persons exhibiting signs of severe mental disorder is compared to that of apparently nonmentally ill persons. The data are found to provide some confirmation that the mentally ill are being criminalized, in that mentally disordered persons had a significantly higher arrest rate than those not mentally disordered. Recommendations for changes in police policy are provided. Finally, results of an observational study of 1,072 police-citizen encounters are presented, and the relative frequency and types of crimes committed by persons exhibiting signs of serious mental disorder are tabulated and compared with crime rates of nonmentally disordered persons. The stereotype of the mentally ill as dangerous is found to be unsubstantiated. Included are 89 references and 5 tables.
Index Term(s): Mentally ill offenders; Police discretion; Police policies and procedures; Police-citizen interactions
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