Police officers have the capacity to use legitimate force to attain compliance, and the gravity associated with officers’ decisions to use force has generated a number of studies of the influences on these decisions. Very few studies, however, have focused on the consequences that exposure to police use of force has on suspects. In this study, we use data collected from a nationally representative sample of prison inmates to examine whether exposure to police use of force during their arrest contributes to mental health problems among these inmates, after controlling for relevant covariates including pre-existing mental illness. Findings indicate 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 our 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.
- police use of force
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science