Police Discretion With the Mentally Ill: Factors Influencing the Handling, Understanding and Criminalization of this Population

Clara Kroetsch, NYS OASAS/Niagara Univerwity

Research shows that the rate of mentally ill individuals who are being incarcerated is expanding. Police officers are being called upon to act as crisis workers and handle this population in increasing amounts daily. This research examines the way in which police officers use their discretionary power to effectively deal with this group of people. This is accomplished through survey data and discussions with officers across different regions of New York State. Discussion will focus on the factors involved in the decision making process, the outcomes of these determinations and the implications associated with both of these.

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Updated 05/20/2006