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BJOC 1.6 - Use of Force
Use of Force Study Set for BJOC - Georgia - Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council - POST
Criminal Justice

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BJOC 1.6 - Use of Force

Terminal Performance Objective (TPO):



Given the need for student comprehension, the student will explain the constitutional constraints on the use of force by jail officers as well as when and how much force may be used in accordance with the Basic Jail Officer Reference Textbook.


BJOC 1.6 - Use of Force

Enabling Objectives (EO’s):



As a result of this instruction, the student will be able to:

1.6.1        Describe the criteria by which use of force would be justified.

1.6.2        Describe the criteria by which use of force would be determined to be reasonable.

1.6.3        Identify the information required for a use of force report.

1.6.4        Identify the benefits of ethical, and the consequences of unethical, decision making and behavior as related to use of force.

Define force.

Force is defined as physical force used to compel an inmate to take an action against their will, or to prevent an inmate from taking action that would be damaging to themselves, others, or property.

When may a jail officer use non-deadly force? 

 Non-deadly force will normally cause neither death nor serious bodily injury. It can be used by jail officers during the performance of their duty:

·        When necessary to preserve the peace, prevent commission of offenses, or prevent suicide or self-inflicting injury

·        When preventing or interrupting a crime or attempted crime against property

·        When making lawful arrests and searches, overcoming resistance to such arrests and searches, and preventing escapes from custody

·        When in self defense, or defense of another against unlawful violence to his person.

When may a jail officer use deadly force? 

Use of deadly force IS SELDOM USED BY a jail officer.  Only in extreme circumstances would a jail officer be authorized to use deadly force. 

·        When the jail officer reasonably believes it necessary to defend his own life.  Example: the officer is being assaulted by an armed inmate.

·        When the jail officer reasonably believes it necessary to defend the life of another.  Example: an inmate is choking another inmate and staff have been unable to stop the assault.

·        To effect the arrest of an inmate attempting to escape, BUT ONLY IF there is a serious threat of immediate danger to the officer or third persons such as the use of a weapon or taking of hostages.


Use of the resistance control continuum provides a guideline for jail officers in selecting effective, reasonable, and legal protective actions in verbal and physical encounters.  Describe the six levels.


Level One - Presence

·        Subject Resistance: “Presence”

·        Jail Officer Administered Control: “Presence”

The jail officer should project a professional image by maintaining a proper “interview stance”.


Level Two - Verbal

·        Subject Resistance: “Verbal”

·        Jail Officer Administered Control: “Verbal”

Dialogue should be controlled, non-emotional, and business-like.  The jail officer should be concise and give specific direction as to what the subject should do or refrain from.  Be very specific.  Example: “Go to your cell and lock down right now.”


Level Three - Passive

·        Subject Resistance: “Passive”

A subject physically refuses to comply or respond.  They do not make any attempt to physically defeat the actions of a member, but instead force a jail officer to use physical maneuvers to establish control. Passive resistance is usually in the form of a relaxed or “dead weight” posture intended to make a jail officer lift, pull, or move an inmate to establish control.

·        Jail Officer Control: “Control and Restraint” Transporters

Transporters are techniques used to control and/or move a subject from point A to point B with minimum effort by a jail officer in order to gain and retain control over a subject. 

Pain Compliance: These techniques force a subject to comply with a jail officer as a result of the officer inflicting controlled pain upon specific points in a subject’s body, such as pressure point techniques.

Restraint Devices:  These mechanical tools are used to restrict a subject’s movements, such as handcuffs, flexcuffs, leg irons, belly chains, and nylon restraining devices.


Level Four - Active

·         Subject Resistance: “Active”

An inmate makes physically evasive movements to defeat a jail officer’s attempt at control.  This may be in the form of bracing or tensing, attempts to push/pull away, or not allowing a jail officer to get close to the inmate.  A subject may assume a fighting stance such as raised hands and clenched fists.

·         Jail Officer Control: “Chemical Agents or Take Downs”

Preemptive physical control: A jail officer may escalate to physical control before any overt moves are made by a subject if the verbal communications by a subject indicate an immediate potential for violence and/or an officer believes that physical control is necessary to prevent a subject from injuring himself or others.

Take downs: These techniques redirect, in a controlled manner, a subject to the ground or object (wall or vehicle) in order to limit or overcome their physical resistance and to facilitate the application of a restraining device.

Authorized chemical weapons: primarily used to render a subject controllable.


Level Five - Aggressive

·         Subject Resistance: “Aggressive”

A subject makes an overt, aggressive, hostile, attacking movement that may cause injury to a jail officer but is not likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the officer or others.

·        Jail Officer Administered Control: “Temporary Incapacitation” 

These techniques are intended to stun or render a subject temporarily unresponsive, delivered with or without less-lethal weapons such as the Taser, Bean Bags, or the Baton, striking a major nerve area.



Level Six - Aggravated

·         Subject Resistance: “Aggravated”

The subject is a suspected felon and the jail officer reasonably believes that the suspect possesses a deadly weapon or any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury; when the jail officer reasonably believes that the suspect poses an immediate threat of physical violence to the jail officer or others; or when there is probable cause to believe that the suspect has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm.

·         Jail Officer Administered Control:  “Deadly Force” 

Deadly use of protective action:  These techniques may result in imminent death or great bodily harm, such as neck restraints or less-lethal weapon strikes to the head or joints.

What are some officer/subject factors that may dictate whether the jail officer should escalate or de-escalate his level of control?

There are certain officer/subject factors that may help dictate to an officer whether to escalate or de-escalate his/her level of control.


·         Age: An older officer confronting a much younger subject who is violent may need to utilize a greater level of force in order to control or regain control of the subject.  Conversely, it would be expected that a younger officer confronting an older subject would use less force to control the resistance.


·         Size: A relatively small officer who encounters a large resistive subject may have to use greater force for control than an officer does of equal or superior size.


·         Sex:  A female officer who is being resisted by a subject may need to employ greater levels of force to control or regain control than her male counterpart.


·         Skill: The skill level of the officer and the subject also enters in the use of force determination.  The officer facing a subject whose skill level is obviously higher than that of the officer may use a higher level of force when encountering resistance.


·         Reaction Time:  You need to maintain at least a six-foot reactionary gap between you and the inmate if the inmate is displaying any type of aggressive or non-compliant behavior.



What should be included in the incident reporting package? 

The report package should include an Incident Report form with the appropriate blocks marked (i.e. use of weapons or use of force), a Use of Force Supplementary Report Form, if applicable, and all witness statements.  An inmate disciplinary report will also be included in most cases, and if available, a videotape.

When use-of-force is used, should an inmate be given a medical examination?   If so, when? 

After physical force is used, the inmate should be examined by medical staff as soon as possible.  The medical staff should make records as to the physical condition of the inmate at the time of the examination.

What are actions by a jail officer that may be considered unethical in the use of  force? 

When you use force for discipline, punishment or coercion, you have crossed the ethical, as well as illegal, line.

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