The Use of Force by Detention Officers

The Use of Force by Detention Officers
Marie L. Griffin
October 2001

ISBN-13:  978-1-931202-01-5 / Hardcover
Dimensions:  5.5 x 8.5 / x, 126 pages

Price   $48.00

"The importance of Griffin's findings for correctional research cannot be understated" -- American Jails


Jails are coercive organizations; even routine interactions between officers and inmates occur within an environment of structured conflict. Given an officer's need to maintain control, the threat or use of force by detention officers against inmates is routine. Griffin conducted a survey of all detention officers working in Maricopa County, Arizona, a jail system known for punitive policies and for a sheriff who has cultivated a national reputation for severity. Incorporating organizational climate variables as primary predictors of a detention officer's readiness to use force, Griffin's findings indicate that attitudes toward the use force are influenced by authority, fear of victimization, quality of supervision, institutional operations, and role ambiguity. These findings suggest that interactions between officers and supervisory personnel and interactions directly with inmates have a more direct influence on the use force than either perceptions of the larger organization or an officer's individual characteristics.

About the Author

Marie L. Griffin is Assistant Professor in the Department of the Administration of Justice at Arizona State University West, Phoenix. She earned her Ph.D. in 1997 from Arizona State University.