Mental illness, law enforcement training, correctional officers, institutionalization, diffusion, social movement, criminal justice diversion


The present study utilized a mixed-methods strategy to examine the effectiveness, diffusion, and institutionalization of the Memphis Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) model. To evaluate the effectiveness of the training component of the CIT model, a panel research design was employed in which a sample of 179 law enforcement officers and 100 correctional officers in nine Florida counties were surveyed on the first day of training (pretest), the last day of training (posttest), and one month following their completion of CIT training (follow-up). These surveys measured the extent to which CIT training achieved several officer-level objectives, including increased knowledge of mental illness and the mental health referral process, improved self-efficacy when responding to mental health crises, and enhanced perceptions of verbal deescalation skills, mental health services in the community, and the mental health referral process. The results of these surveys revealed officers experienced a statistically significant increase on every measure of training effectiveness between the pretest and posttest data collection points. However, a significant decline was found among the 117 officers that responded to the follow-up survey on the measures associated with self-efficacy and perceptions of verbal de-escalation, which points to a measurable decay in the effectiveness of the training in the intermediate timeframe with regard to these two measures. To examine the extent to which the diffusion of the CIT model resembles a social movement in the field of criminal justice and to explore the impact of CIT institutionalization on the organizational structure of criminal justice agencies, an online survey was distributed to 33 representatives of law enforcement and correctional agencies known to participate in the CIT program in the nine Florida counties in which officers were surveyed. The results of this survey indicate interagency communication and external pressure i from mental health providers and advocates largely contribute to the decision of criminal justice agencies to adopt the CIT model. In addition, the findings of this survey suggest criminal justice agencies modify their organizational structure in a number of different ways to internalize and institutionalize the CIT model. By coupling a training program evaluation with an assessment of diffusion and institutionalization, this study makes a unique contribution to organizational and evidence-based literature.


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Graduation Date





Potter, Roberto


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Health and Public Affairs


Dean's Office, Health and Public Affairs

Degree Program

Public Affairs; Criminal Justice








Release Date

August 2013

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Health and Public Affairs, Health and Public Affairs -- Dissertations, Academic