Westlaw Next holds an enormous amount of legal data and is often the starting point for many researchers. However, it mainly functions as a search engine and offers little in the way of being an advanced analytical tool. If researchers were to examine large amounts of legal data using analytical tools, they might find patterns and practices previously unobserved. As such, utilizing secondary data from Westlaw Next, this research project will examine approximately 16,000 cases on “correctional officer excessive use of force” and identify recurring themes in these claims. This project involves corpus development, text mining, and visualization.
The significance of this study is threefold. First, it provides an examination of the manner by which courts interpret the malicious and sadistic standard as it relates to excessive use of force and decision making within correctional institutions. Second, this study identifies patterns or practices of excessive use of force, which can be beneficial to prison administrators when determining the appropriate administrative and management strategies to preserve and ensure the assets of their organizations. Third, by examining correctional officer excessive use of force, organizational changes can be implemented in training, supervision, departmental codes of conduct, and use of force policies to reduce the likelihood of civil liability. Dissemination of findings, training, and policy recommendations will be offered.
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