Police Brutality of the Mentally Ill Suspects Essay

Police brutality with mentally ill suspects is common with police officers throughout the United States of America. It is, therefore, imperative to investigate the allegations against the police officers’ maltreatment of citizens who are mentally ill. The police chief has a responsibility to improve the police relations with citizens of the United States. This, therefore, calls for qualitative methods to be applied into the research so as to get the clear picture of what happens inside and outside the police station to determine what kind of training will be introduced. The policemen responsible for handling such cases will be observed discreetly as they work so that they may not change their treatment towards the mentally ill suspects. However, this kind of method raises some ethical concerns. First, the research team will use deception to gain access to observation that they may not have accessed because the police do not know that they are the actual subjects of the research. Second, the research study could generate distrust to the participants such that future research on the subject would be difficult to obtain information or cooperation of the participants. Finally, the police did not agree to be studied at their work stations. Therefore, no consent was obtained for this exercise (Kothari, 2005).The hypothesis for the observation method would be: mentally ill suspects maltreatment by police decreases the quality of services. The independent and dependent variables respectively would be the police treatment and quality of services.

Sampling and limitations for validity and reliability

The sampling procedure that will be used is the convenience sampling. This is because not all the police within the station deal with the mentally ill suspects and, therefore, those who deal directly with the suspects are better placed to guide the research team into collecting adequate information. Another purpose for this is that the matter requires prompt action and, therefore, the sampling is fast and reliable for such a case. Limitations regarding validity and reliability of the study will include determining if the instrument used in the research will be accepted by the panelists who are going to fund the training. Second, would be determining if the results be valid such that the research can be replicated by other researchers and give the same results. Third, the research team is to determine the conclusions obtained after the study will match the reality on the ground ((Kothari, 2005).

Question 2: Criminology theories

A theory is an abstract statement which explains why certain things happen. Criminology has been theorized alluding that there are differently underlying causes of crime.

Rational choice theory

According to Siegel (2007) the proponents of the rational choice theory believe that violators carefully plan activities and avoid detection by the authorities. The planning suggests that the decision to commit crime is designed to maximize personal gain and avoid punishment. During the Middle Ages, those who violated social norms were believed to be witches and were not rational. The punishment was burning at the stake but with time the jurisdiction of central governments broadened their mandate to deal with social conflicts. In the eighteenth century, social philosophers began to embrace the view that human behavior was, as a result, of rationality. People chose to act after weighing costs and benefits. They believed that they would experience pleasure or reduction of pain, as a result, of their actions. Cesare Beccaria called for fair punishment because he believed that people were self-centered and must be motivated by fear of punishment (Siegel, 2007). This theory does not explain why criminals are not perturbed by the severity of punishment when they are apprehended as they continue to commit the crime even when they know what is at stake. Despite this, it has been observed that most of those that committed the crime in the rational theory have reasons as to why they did. For instance the case of street robbery, most of the robbers needed money for hospital, food et cetera. One method of preventing crime is employing the situational crime prevention concept which dictates that planners must be aware of the aspects of sites that are risk to crime. They must know the advantage of illegal opportunities are offered by these sites and prevent crime. Another way is to reduce opportunities for criminal activity through establishing curfew laws to decrease opportunities young people have to engage in antisocial behavior (Siegel, 2007).

Trait theories

In the late 19th century, scientists started relying on pure thought and reason. Auguste Comte suggested that societies pass thorough stages and can be grouped on the grounds of their understanding the world in which they live in (Siegel, 2007). Comte in the positivism stage believed that all knowledge is acquired through observation and emphasized that scientific methods should be used in research. According to this tradition, human behavior is a function of a variety of forces which include wealth and class, political, personal et cetera. People are neither born good or bad but are a product of the psychological and social traits. According to Siegel (2007) some of the scientists studied facial features and skulls of criminals to determine causes of criminal tendencies. Crime was also believed to be linked to insanity and therefore it was a sort of outlet in which insane people displayed their criminal tendencies. Lombrosso an Italian believed that serious offenders were born criminals who had inherited a set of primitive physical traits. The work of Lombroso and his comrades was regarded as a historical curiosity, and today criminologists believed that environmental conditions interact with human traits to influence behavior thus the term biosocial theory (Siegel, 2007). Bio criminologists believe that environmental, social and physical influence human behavior. The biosocial theories are best in explaining why individuals in aversive environment commit crime and why those in the supportive environment do commit crime. They also provide insight into the etiology of violent behavior. They provide useful explanations of the causes of crime. However, biosocial theories are viewed as individualistic and ignorant in their social structure and process. They also fail to explain the fluctuations and changes in crime rates over time. Intervention for criminal tendencies can be coined to decrease the vice of crime. Some authors suggest therapy and counseling which greatly contributes to the wellness of those affected. However, some do not agree to these methods and argue that they have been ineffective in reducing criminal involvement. The best programs designed to address these issues include those that utilize cognitive behavioral treatment to address dysfunctional cognitions and emotions. This can be done through modeling, practice and reinforcement verbal suggestions (Reckless, 1961).

Social structure theories

Reckless (1961) suggest that social structure theories suggest that the criminal behavior is related to the social class. It suggests that people in different social classes have different amounts of wealth; status and power. In the lower class people suffer from poverty and are prone to engage in crime. Social change leads to a state of anomie where rules that guide behavior are weakened thus the display of antisocial behavior. This theory also explains the behavior of corporate leaders who manipulate stock prices despite their wealth. These individuals break violate laws in order to enhance their personal success. The theories are able to explain crime rates in certain areas, secondly the help to emphasize the power of values and social solidarity to decrease crime. Thirdly, they explain why crime rate in America is higher than the rest of the regions. On the other hand, the theories do not explain why individuals affected by strain do not adapt similarly. Secondly, the structure theories do not predict the high rates of property crime in America and fail to explain the structural origins of the strain. Recommendations to address the problems posed in the social structure theories have been made by different stakeholders. However, these problems cannot be addressed in part but the whole. Some of the suggestions that have worked over time include government giving unemployment benefits, free education, and different opportunities to better the lives of the people. These however should continue as the government and sociologists continue to look for the best solution to eradicate crime (Walsh & Hemmens, 2011).

Social process theories

Social process theories assume that regardless of education or upbringing one has the potential to become a criminal. However, majority of people commit crimes due to the situations in their lives. Process theories hold that the criminal activity is a learned behavior more so from family members. They suggest that members of the society have the potential to commit a crime but are restrained by family ties, church, school or peer groups. The theories also stress that society creates deviance and criminality. This is by making rules that constitute the deviance and applying the rules to particular people and labeling them as outsiders (Cole, 1975).The theories help in explaining the social construction of crime and points to the power of some individuals to criminalize the acts of others. It also emphasizes that criminals handle their guilt when they commit the crime. The weaknesses of these theories show the neglect of causes of deviance and puts across advice of how criminals should not be punished, but treated. It also says nothing about the origins of the behavior being neutralized. The right way to handle crime in the social process theories is to strengthen families and to improve family ties. Most of the criminal tendencies start forming when a child is young and without proper form of teaching the child will be a criminal (Walsh & Hemmens, 2011).

Social conflict, critical criminology and restorative justice

According to Siegel (2007) conflict promotes crime by promoting war, violence and death and it is a mechanism for controlling dissatisfied have not members of the society. Critical criminologists believe that the law is an instrument of power wielded by those who control society to maintain their wealth. Critical criminology can be traced back to Karl Marx, who identified economic structures that control human relations. Marx argued that when conditions are bad enough the oppressed rise to fight the owners and replace them. Marx viewed crime as a product of law enforcement policies and linked criminality and inequality. Contemporary criminologists have devoted their time to misuse of power, ability of groups to control the behavior of others and shaping public opinion. Criminals who are wealthy receive lenient punishments while those who committed minor crimes receive stricter penalties. The theory does not give direct explanation why the society is only afraid of the “poor” criminal and not the rich one. It also leans towards patriarchy and oppresses women thus gender bias is seen. Despite the weaknesses, the theory has strengths in that it represents a compromise between the conflict and traditional criminology. It also explains gender differences in crime rate thus raising the issue of gender conflict. Critical theorists argue that if conflict and competition in the society is reduced then the crime rates would be decreased. Peacemaking and reintegrative shaming are also employed to increase the chances of decreasing crimes. Shame makes people see that they are defective and; therefore, employing the concept of shame can reduce crime (Siegel, 2007).

Question 3: Admissibility of Evidence

The fourth amendment requires that judges must issue warrants based on probable cause for criminality to justify any search that will be conducted in the premises of an offender. Any evidence obtained in violation to the fourth amendment renders the evidence inadmissible and may not be used to prosecute the individual whose rights are violated. When there is reasonable suspicion, the police may stop the suspect to question him, but search for evidence on reasonable suspicion is not permissible. Therefore in Ricky’s case the map obtained from the illegal search of his premises may not hold in a court of law as the police themselves violated Ricky’s privacy under the fourth amendment (O’Cinneide et al., 2010). The body found at Ricky’s backyard can be used as evidence in the courtroom and is admissible. The fourth amendment requires the police to conduct searches when they have a search warrant and probable cause. In this case, the officers were justified such that upon finding the map they believed that Ricky’s roommate must have been buried .In the police’s defense, they can argue that the action may have been pre-meditated, therefore, warranting the “unlawful” search. This case can be equated to that of the United States v. Acosta where the Third Circuit Court of appeals held that the occupants of the apartment did not have legitimate exception of privacy in the backyard of an apartment building and, therefore, could not challenge the evidence thrown out of the window (Gardner & Anderson, 2001). Ricky’s neighbor to report a crime when it happened could raise questions especially in the court of law discrediting his statement because of failure to call for help immediately. However, citizens are protected through the fourth-amendment provisions from being forcibly detained by the government. Officers responding to the tip must make sound judgment to respond to the anonymous tip using court rulings as guidelines (Hess & Wroblesk, 2006).

Qn4: Eighth amendment question

This case borders along the lines of intersection of the prohibition of torture, the right to health, housing and children’s rights. The eighth amendment holds that all persons born are naturalized in the United States ought to enjoy the privileges enshrined in the constitution. Jenny and Linda deserve a fair hearing. Both of them need “proper health care” which should be a basic right according to the United States of America. As stated in the eighth amendment, failing to honor the wishes of both inmates will be denying them privileges and the liberty to make their own choices. The first case to tackle the question of medical care in the prison setting was Estelle v Gamble in 1976. Gamble claimed that the Texas department of corrections inflicted cruel punishment on him by not adequately treating him for a back injury sustained in prison. The Supreme Court acknowledged that the prisoner was entitled to adequate health care but ruled in favor of the prison. They based their evidence that the inmate had been treated for several injuries in prison, and the court concluded that Gamble had not shown evidence of indifference to his medical needs. The deliberate indifference constitutes unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain according to the court. This case set the standards by which medical care cases in prison have been judged. The stand made in Estelle v. Gamble will be argued by the women’s correction facility as both inmates do not have proof for deliberate indifference to warrant their medical procedures. The correctional facility may also argue that they do not have the adequate resources and facilities to take care of the inmates’ needs which are a common occurrence in majority of the women correctional centers all over the United States of America. Linda and Jenny will argue how women prisoners present most of the health care concerns male inmates present. Additionally, pregnant inmates require special prenatal care services, better nutrition and maintaining an environment that is stress free. Women’s prisons must also be provided with labor and delivery services (Whitehead et al., 2013). Many pregnant, incarcerated women have little or no access to medical care. The American correctional Association found out that only about half of all jails and seven out of ten prisons report having the equipment and staff to attend adequately to the needs of the pregnant women. Despite the above arguments, Linda and Jenny may fail to convince the court due to the rules at the women correctional facility and also how cases in the past have been decided.


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