8th Edition

Civil Liability in Criminal Justice

By Darrell L. Ross Copyright 2023
    616 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    616 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides valuable information and recommendations for current and future officers and correctional system employees, introducing them to civil liability and federal law, as well as recommending strategies that can be taken to minimize risks. The increasing litigation against criminal justice practitioners in the United States poses a significant problem for law enforcement and other personnel. Law enforcement and corrections professionals need to have a working knowledge of both criminal law and the civil law process to ensure that they are performing their duties within the limits of the law.

    Civil Liability in Criminal Justice is unique in its combination of applicable case law and related liability research, providing an overview of high-liability areas. This new edition has been revised to include up-to-date United States Supreme Court cases and illuminates the latest developments in the use of force, arrest-related deaths, custodial suicides in detention, collective bargaining, public perception issues, and more. Ross offers an engaging, accessible introduction to civil liability in the criminal justice system.

    A valuable resource for enhancing student knowledge and practitioner job performance, this text is suitable for undergraduate and graduate courses in criminal justice programs as well as for in-service and academy training.



    1. Overview of Civil Liability

    2. Foundations for Liability

    3. Civil Liability under State and Federal Tort Law

    4. Civil Liability and Federal Law: Section 1983 Litigation

    5. Defenses to Civil Litigation and Risk Management

    6. Administration and Supervisory Liability

    7. Liability for Failure to Train

    8. Operating Criminal Justice Agencies under Consent Decree

    9. Personnel Issues and Liability

    10. Use of Force in Law Enforcement and Corrections

    11. Section 1983 and Correctional Liability Issues

    12. Section 1983 Actions in Law Enforcement

    13. Liability and Arrest-related Deaths

    14. Liability and Suicides in Detention

    Table of Cases



    Darrell L. Ross, Ph.D. is a Professor and Department Head of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice, and the Director of the Center for Applied Social Sciences (CASS) at Valdosta State University. Ross worked for the Michigan Department of Corrections as an officer, cell block supervisor of mentally impaired prisoners, probation officer, and instructor in the training academy. He also taught in the Police Academy at Ferris State University as a certified instructor, teaching subject control techniques, human factors, mechanics of arrest, and responding to the mentally ill person. He served as the Director of the School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration at Western Illinois University and was a professor in the Criminal Justice Program at East Carolina University.

    Ross has published five books and more than 120 articles, book chapters, and monographs on the use of force, stress, and human factors during use of force incidents, liability issues, officer-involved shootings, excited delirium syndrome, prone restraint and asphyxiation, sudden arrest-related deaths, and custodial suicides. Ross has provided technical assistance and consultation to local, county, state, federal, and private criminal justice agencies nationally and internationally, as well as to various branches of the military. He regularly provides training to line-level officers and administrators and makes presentations at national and international conferences on officer and supervisor liability issues, officer-involved shootings and investigations, use of force issues, sudden arrest-related deaths, and custodial deaths. Since 1987 Ross has provided expert witness services regarding these and other topics.

    "Dr. Ross’s book teaches law enforcement agencies how to see operations through the lens of risk. Now for every training event or planned operation we identify the risks and the control measures to counter them. The end result: we have seen a remarkable reduction in consequences of legal liability, and better officer performance and perceived professionalism from the community."

    Jim A. Blocker, Chief of Police, Battle Creek, Michigan     

    "Dr. Ross provides the ‘A to Z’ reference book for civil liability in a criminal justice setting, whether it be day to day policing or overseeing offenders in correctional institutions. A practical, subject-by-subject guide, this book gives clear data and reasoning behind civil liability, what drives it and how to mitigate it. The final chapter clearly sets out trends based on law and recent Court decisions. A must read, this book should be in the hands of every American criminal justice executive."

    Jim Ferraris, Chief of Police, Woodburn, Oregon, Police Department

    "This text discusses complex concepts and principles in easily understood language. It is thoroughly researched and well organized. Readers will learn duties and responsibilities that are owed to all and strategies to prevent harms and avoid or limit exposure to civil liability."

    Andrew Fulkerson, J.D., Ph.D., Professor, Southeast Missouri State University; former judge and prosecuting attorney, State of Arkansas