This research is based on data from the Project on Policing Neighborhoods, directed by Stephen D. Mastrofski, Roger B. Parks, Albert J. Reiss, Jr., and Robert E. Worden. The project was supported by Grant 95-IJ-CX-0071 by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. A previous version of this paper was presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, New Orleans, La., March 22–25, 2000. Special thanks go to John Monahan, Henry Steadman, Robert Worden, Stephen Mastrofski, and Roger Parks for commenting on an earlier draft of this work. Special thanks also go to Bob Bursik and the anonymous reviewers of Criminology for their insightful suggestions.
POLICING MENTALLY DISORDERED SUSPECTS: A REEXAMINATION OF THE CRIMINALIZATION HYPOTHESIS*
Article first published online: 7 MAR 2006
Volume 39, Issue 2, pages 225–252, May 2001
How to Cite
ENGEL, R. S. and SILVER, E. (2001), POLICING MENTALLY DISORDERED SUSPECTS: A REEXAMINATION OF THE CRIMINALIZATION HYPOTHESIS. Criminology, 39: 225–252. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2001.tb00922.x
Robin Shepard Engel is Assistant Professor of Crime, Law, and Justice at The Pennsylvania State University and received a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the State University of New York at Albany in 1999. Her current research involves theoretical and empirical explorations of police supervision, patrol officers' behavior, and police response toward problem citizens. She is also involved in efforts to conceptualize criminal justice theory and explain the behavior of criminal justice professionals more generally. Address correspondence to Robin Shepard Engel, Crime, Law and Justice Program, The Pennsylvania State University, 211 Oswald Tower, University Park, PA 16802
Eric Silver is Assistant Professor of Crime, Law, and Justice, and Sociology at the Pennsylvania State University and a member of the National Science Foundation's National Consortium on Violence Research. His research focuses on the relationship between violence and mental illness and the role that social and contextual factors play in this relationship. Since 1994, he has served as Senior Data Analyst for the MacArthur Foundation's Violence Risk Assessment Study, a large-scale study of risk factors for violence among discharged psychiatric patients. He has published numerous articles in the areas of violence, mental illness, and recidivism prediction.
- Issue published online: 7 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 7 MAR 2006
The criminalization hypothesis is based on the assumption that police inappropriately use arrest to resolve encounters with mentally disordered suspects. The current study uses data collected from two large-scale, multisite field studies of police behavior-the Project on Policing Neighborhoods (POPN) conducted in 1996–1997 and the Police Services Study (PSS) conducted in 1977-to examine the relationship between suspect mental health and use of arrest by police. Multivariate results show that police are not more likely to arrest mentally disordered suspects. Implications for future research on the criminalization hypothesis are discussed.