Policing mentally disordered suspects: A reexamination of the criminalization hypothesis

Robin Shepard Engel, Eric Silver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


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, multi-site 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-252
Number of pages28
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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