Frankham's research focuses on U.S. policing, incarceration, and mental illness. She holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Birmingham (UK) and a master's degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has taught on the topics of criminal law, policing, and community-engaged research.
Examines circumstances surrounding police fatal shootings. Provides evidence that people with mental illness encounter police in different situations than those without mental illness, and people with mental illness who are killed by police behave differently than those without mental illness.
Examines racial/ethnic differences in how individuals with mental illness killed by police during 2015 and 2016 were portrayed in news reports. Results indicate that African-Americans were most likely to be portrayed as victims of police actions, Whites were most likely to be portrayed as victims of mental illness, and Hispanics were most likely to be portrayed as ‘villains’.
Examines the prevalence and types of stigmatizing language in news reports about persons with mental illness killed by police. Results indicate that stigmatization that is implicit, and often seemingly innocuous, is more pervasive than explicit forms of stigmatization.
Examines police-public encounters that resulted in the fatal shooting of civilians during 2015 and 2016. Results indicate that African-Americans are approximately half as likely to have police contact due to a family member or friend calling 911 than Whites. Individuals with mental illness are unlikely to have contact initiated by police. There is a lower probability of police using only lethal force when a family member or friend initiates contact.