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Is corrections officers' use of illegal force networked? Network structure, brokerage, and key players in the New York City Department of Correction

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Goldrosen, Nicholas 


Purpose Recent research on police misconduct has adopted a network perspective, while recent work on correctional officer (CO) use of force has similarly framed it as an organizational behavior, learned through socialization and deployed with considerable discretion. This paper leverages the network paradigm in police misconduct research to study the use of force by COs.

Methods Using data on lawsuits involving the New York City Department of Correction from 2013 to 2022, this paper forms a co-offending network of those COs who have been sued for excessive force. This paper then uses descriptive social network analysis and key player selection and community detection methods.

Results After describing the basic network structure of COs who use force together, this paper identifies brokers who connect disparate parts of the CO network; it also uses a community detection algorithm to identify clusters of COs involved in force incidents. Finally, the paper compares this network to an analogous network of police use of force, finding structural similarities.

Conclusions This analysis bridges disparate work on correctional officer use of force and police misconduct; for policymakers who seek to curtail COs' excessive use of force, this paper might provide a blueprint for identifying key players and clusters.



Journal Title

Journal of Criminal Justice

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Gates Cambridge Trust (OPP1144)