Procedural Justice

Procedural justice focuses on the way police and other legal authorities interact with the public, and how the characteristics of those interactions shape the public’s views of the police, their willingness to obey the law, and actual crime rates.

Procedural justice focuses on the way police and other legal authorities interact with the public, and how the characteristics of those interactions shape the public’s views of the police, their willingness to obey the law, and actual crime rates. Mounting evidence shows that community perceptions of procedural justice can have a significant impact on public safety.

Procedural justice is based on four central principles: "treating people with dignity and respect, giving citizens 'voice' during encounters, being neutral in decision making, and conveying trustworthy motives."  Research demonstrates that these principles contribute to relationships between authorities and the community in which 1) the community has trust and confidence in the police as honest, unbiased, benevolent, and lawful; 2) the community feels obligated to follow the law and the dictates of legal authorities, and 3) the community feels that it shares a common set of interests and values with the police.

Procedurally just policing is essential to the development of good will between police and communities and is closely linked to improving community perceptions of police legitimacy, the belief that authorities have the right to dictate proper behavior. Research shows that when communities view police authority as legitimate, they are more likely to cooperate with police and obey the law.  Establishing and maintaining police legitimacy promotes the acceptance of police decisions, correlates with high levels of law abidingness, and makes it more likely that police and communities will collaborate to combat crime. 

A key component of the research is that the public is especially concerned that the conduct of authorities be fair, and this factor matters more to them than whether outcomes of particular interactions favor them. This means that procedurally just policing is not consonant with traditional enforcement-focused policing, which typically assumes compliance is a function primarily of emphasizing to the public the consequences—usually formal punishment—of failing to follow the law. Policing based on formal deterrence encourages the public’s association of policing primarily with enforcement and punitive outcomes.  Procedurally just policing, on the other hand, emphasizes values that police and communities share—shared values based upon a common conception of what social order is and how it should be maintained—and encourages the collaborative, voluntary maintenance of a law-abiding community. Research indicates that this latter approach is far more effective at producing law-abiding citizens than the former. This makes intuitive sense— people welcome being treated as equals with a stake in keeping their communities safe, as opposed to being treated as subjects of a capricious justice system enforced by police who punish them for ambiguous, if not arbitrary, reasons.

Taking measures to enhance procedural justice within law enforcement agencies is becoming increasingly possible. Professor Tracey Meares and Professor Tom Tyler of Yale Law School have worked with the Chicago Police Department and others to create a one-day training for line officers and command staff that teaches them how to apply powerful procedural justice principles to their routine contacts with the public. The officers reportedly like it and evaluate it positively, as it improves not only public safety but their own. Indeed, there are many good reasons to cultivate a respectful relationship between police and communities, but the most important is that communities in which police are considered legitimate are safer and more law-abiding.

Research

Tyler, T., & Fagan, J. (2008). Legitimacy and Cooperation: Why Do People Help the Police Fight Crime in Their Communities?. 6 Ohio State J. Crim. L. 231.

Bradford, B., Sergeant, E., Murphy, K., & Jackson, J. (2015).  A Leap of Faith? Trust in the Police Among Immigrants in England and Wales. Br J Criminol 2017; 57 (2): 381-401. doi: 10.1093/bjc/azv126.

Meares, T. (2009). The Legitimacy of Police Among Young African-American Men. Marquette Law Review, 92(4) 651-666

Bradford, Ben. (2014). Policing and Social Identity: Procedural Justice, Inclusion and Cooperation Between Police and Public. Policing and Society, 24:1, 22-43, DOI: 10.1080/10439463.2012.724068 

Meares, T.L., Tyler, T.R. & Gardener, J. (in press).The two different worlds we live in: Lawfulness and perceived police misconduct.

Kohler-Hausmann, I. (2014). Managerial justice and mass misdemeanors. Stanford Law Review, 66(3), 611-692.

The Sentencing Project. Disproportionate minority contact.

Tyler, T.R. & Jackson, J. (2014). Popular Legitimacy and the Exercise of Legal Authority: Motivating Compliance, Cooperation and Engagement. Psychology, Public Policy and Law, 20, 78-95. 

David Von Drehle, Alex Altman (2014, September 1).  Inside the Tragedy of Ferguson. Time Magazine.

Lee, C.G., Cheesman, F., Rottman, D., Swaner, R., Lambson, S., Rempel, M. & Curtis, R. (2014). A Community Court Grows in Brooklyn: A Comprehensive Evaluation of the Red Hook Community Justice Center Final Report. Williamsburg, VA: National Center for State Courts.

Kates, Graham (2014, September 6). The crisis of confidence in police-community relations.  The Crime Report.

Jackson, Jonathan, Bradford, Ben, Kuha, Jouni and Hough, Mike (2014) Empirical legitimacy as two connected psychological states in Mesko, G. and Tankebe, J., (eds.) Improving Legitimacy of Criminal Justice in Emerging Democracies.  London: Springer.

Durrant, M.B. (January 27, 2014).  2014 State of the judiciary address: Utah State Courts.

Elijah Anderson (2014, August 13).  What caused the Ferguson riot exists in so many other cities, too.  The Washington Post.

Kates, Graham (2014, September 5).  Melekian: Give beat cops a voice in community policing.  The Crime Report

Meares, T.L. (2014, August 22). Ferguson’s schools are just as troubling as its police force. New Republic.

Rosenfeld, R., Fornango, R. (2014). The Impact of Police Stops on Precinct Robbery and Burglary Rates in New York City, 2003-2010. Justice Quarterly, 31, 132–158. 

Tyler, T.R.  (March, 2014).  Legitimacy and procedural justice: A new element of police leadership.  Police Executive Research Forum.

Anderson, Elijah (2014, August 13).  What caused the Ferguson riot exists in so many other cities, too.  Washington Post.

La Vigne, N. G., Lachman, P., Rao, S., Matthews, A. (2014). Stop and Frisk: Balancing Crime Control with Community Relations. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. 

Tyler, T.R., Fagan, J. & Geller, A. (2014).  Street stops and police legitimacy: Teachable moments in young urban men’s legal socialization. New Haven: Yale Law School.

United States Department of Justice (June 12, 2013).  Statement of interest of the United States in Floyd v. City of New York.  In United States District Court, Southern District of New York.

Levin Wheller, Paul Quinton, Alistair Fildes & PC Andy Mills.  (2013).  The greater Manchester Police procedural justice training experiment.  UK: College of Policing.

Wemmers, J.M. (2013).  Victims’ experiences in the criminal justice system and their recovery from crime.  International Review of Victimology, 19, 221–233.

Reisig, M.D., Tankebe, J. & Mesko, G. (2013).  Compliance with the law in Slovenia: The role of procedural justice and police legitimacy.  European Journal of Criminal Policy Research, 20(2), 259-276.

Goldstein, J. (August 12, 2013). Judge Rejects New York’s Stop-and-Frisk Policy. The New York Times. 

Murphy, K. (2013).  Does procedural justice matter to youth?  Policing and Society, 25(1), 53-73.

Mazerolle, L., Bennett, S., Davis, J., Sargeant, E. & Manning, M. (2013a). Procedural justice and police legitimacy: A systematic review of the research evidence.  Journal of Experimental Criminology, 9(3), 245-274.

Mazerolle, L., Bennett, S., Davis, J. Sargeant, E. & Manning, M. (2013b).  Legitimacy in policing: A systematic review.  Oslo, Norway: The Campbell Collaboration

Listwan, S.J., Sullivan, C.J., Agnew, R., Cullen, F.T. & Colvin, M.  (2013). The pains of imprisonment revisited: The impact of strain on inmate recidivism.  Justice Quarterly, 30(1), 144-168.

Kopenovich, S., Yanos, P., Pratt, C. & Koerner, J. (2013).  Procedural justice in mental health courts: Judicial practices, participant perceptions, and outcomes related to mental health recovery.  International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 36, 113-120.

Jackson, J., Bradford, B., Stanko, B. & Hold, K. (2013).  Just authority?: Trust in the police in England and Wales. London: Routledge.

Jackson, J., Huq, A.Z., Bradford, B. & Tyler, T.R. (2013). Monopolizing force? Police legitimacy and public attitudes toward the acceptability of violence.  Psychology, Public Policy and Law, 19(4), 479-497.

Floyd et al v. The City of New York, Opinion and Order, 08 Civ. 1034 (SAS)  U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New  York. August 12, 2013.

Kohler-Hausmann, I. (2013).  Misdemeanor justice: Control without conviction.  American Journal of Sociology, 119, 351-393.

Statement of Interest of the United States. Floyd  v. The City of New York,  U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Filed June 12, 2013.

Vickrey, W.C., Denton, D.G. & Jefferson, W.B. (2013). Opinions as the voice of the court: How state Supreme Courts can communicate effectively and promote procedural fairness.  Harvard: Kennedy School.

Watson, A.C. & Angell, B. (2012).  The role of stigma and uncertainty in moderating the effect of procedural justice on cooperation and resistance in police encounters with persons with mental illnesses.  Psychology, Public Policy and Law, 19(1), 30-39.

Tatar, J.R., Kaasa, S.O. & Cauffman, E. (2012).  Perceptions of procedural justice among female offenders: Time does not heal all wounds.  Psychology, Public Policy and Law, 18, 268-296.

Stott, C., Hoggett, J. & Pearson, G. (2012).  Keeping the peace: Social identity, procedural justice and the policing of football crowds.  British Journal of Criminology, 52, 381-399.

Rosenbaum, D.P., & Lawrence, D.S. (2012).  Teaching respectful police-citizen encounters and good decision making: Results of a randomized control trial with police recruits.  Chicago:   National Police Research Platform.

Papachristos, A.V., Meares, T.L., Fagan, J. (2012).  Why do criminals obey the law?  Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 102 (2), 397-440.

Myhill, A. & Bradford, B. (2012).  Can police enhance confidence in improving quality of service?  Policing and Society, 22(4), 397-425.

Murphy, K. & Cherney, A. (2012).  Understanding cooperation with police in a diverse society.  British Journal of Criminology, 52, 181-201.

Levi, M., Tyler, T.R. & Sacks, A. (2012).  The reasons for compliance with law.  In R. Goodman, D. Jinks & A. Wood (Eds.), Understanding Social Action, Promoting Human Rights. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Kochel, T.R. (2012).  Can police legitimacy promote collective efficacy?  Justice Quarterly, 29(3), 384-419.

Hohl, K., Stanko, B. & Newburn, T. (2012).  The effect of the 2011 London disorder on public opinion of the police and attitudes towards crime, disorder, and sentencing Policing, 7(1), 12-20.

Jackson, J., Bradford, B., Hough, M., Myhill, A., Quinton, P. & Tyler, T.R. (2012).  Why do people comply with the law?  Legitimacy and the influence of legal institutions.  British Journal of Criminology, 52, 1051-1071.

Mazerolle, L., Bennett, S., Antrobus, E. & Tyler, T.R. (2012).  Shaping citizen perceptions of police legitimacy: A randomized field trial of procedural justice. Criminology, 51, 1-31.

Tatar, J.R., Kaasa, S.O. & Cauffman, E. (2012).  Perceptions of procedural justice among female offenders.  Psychology, Public Policy and Law, 18(2), 268-296.

Taylor, R.B. & Lawton, B.A. (2012).  An integrated contextual model of confidence in local police.  Police Quarterly, 15(4), 414-445.

Tomkins, A.J., Bornstein, B., Herian, M.N., Rosenbaum, D.I. & Neeley, E.M. (2012).  Improving appearance rates.  Court Review, 48, 96-106.

Mentel, Z. (2012). Racial Reconciliation, Truth Telling and Police Legitimacy. Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, US Department of Justice.

Tyler, T.R. (2011).  Why people cooperate. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Myhill, A. & Quinton, P. (2011).  It’s a fair cop?  Police legitimacy, public cooperation and crime reduction.  London, UK: National Policing Improvement Agency.

Leben, S. (2011).  Considering procedural fairness concepts in the courts of Utah.  Paper Presented at the educational conference for the Utah State Courts, Midway, Utah.

Komarovskaya, I., Maguen, S., McCaslin, S.E., Metzler, T.J., Madan, A., Brown, A.D., Galatzer-Levy, I.R., Henn-Haase, C. and Marmar, C.R. (2011). The impact of killing and injuring others on mental health symptoms among police officers. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 45(10), 1332-1336.

Judicial Council of California (2011).  Procedural fairness in California: Initiatives, challenges, and recommendations.  San Francisco, CA: Center for Court Innovation.

Kennedy, D. M. (2011). Don’t shoot: One man, a street fellowship, and the end of violence in inner-city America. New York, NY: Bloomsbury USA.

Jonathan-Zamir, T. & Weisburd, D. (2011).  The effects of security threats on antecedents of police legitimacy: Findings from a Quasi-experiment in IsraelJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 50 (1), 3-32.

Ward, J.T. (2011).  Caught in their own speed trap: The intersection of speed enforcement policy, police legitimacy, and decision acceptance.  Police Quarterly, 14, 251-276.

Hasisi, B. & Weisburd, D. (2011). Going beyond ascribed identities: The importance of procedural justice in airport security screening in IsraelLaw and Society Review, 45(4), 867-892.

Wylie, L., Gibson, C., Brank, E.M., Fondacaro, M.R., Smith, S., Brown, V.E., & Miller, S.A. (2010). Assessing school and student predictors of weapons reporting. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 8, 351-372.

Peffley, M. & Hurwitz, J. (2010).  Justice in America: The separate realities of Blacks and Whites.  New York: Cambridge University Press.

Missed Opportunities, Shared Responsibilities: Final Report of the Cambridge Review Committee (2010, June 15).

Kubrin, Charis E., Steven F. Messner, Glenn Deane, Kelly McGeever, Thomas D. Stucky (2010), Proactive Policing and Robbery Rates Across U.S. Cities. Criminology, 48(1): 57-97.

Wales, H.W., Hiday, V.A. & Ray, B. (2010).  Procedural justice and the mental health court judge’s role in reducing recidivism.  International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 33, 265-271.

Hough, M., Jackson, J., Bradford, B., Myhill, A., & Quinton, P. (2010). Procedural justice, trust, and institutional legitimacyPolicing, 4(3), 203-210.

Alexander, M. (2011). The New Jim Crow. New York: The New Press.

Bayley, D. & Nixon, C. (2010).  The changing environment for policing, 1985-2008. New Perspectives in Policing. Harvard Kennedy School Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management.

Tyler, T.R. (2009).  Legitimacy and criminal justice: The benefits of self-regulation Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, 7, 307-359.

Tankebe, J. (2009).  Self-help, policing, and procedural justice: Ghanaian vigilantism and the rule of law.  Law and Society Review, 43(2), 245-270.

Reisig, M.D. & Mesko, G. (2009).  Procedural justice, legitimacy and prisoner misconduct.  Psychology, Crime and Law, 15(1), 41-59.

Murphy, K., Tyler, T.R., & Curtis, A. (2009).  Nurturing regulatory compliance: Is procedural justice effective when people question the legitimacy of the law?  Regulation and Governance, 3(1), 1-26.

Hinds, L. (2009).  Youth, police legitimacy and informal contact.  Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 24(1), 10-21.

Hinds, L. & Murphy, K. (2007).  Public satisfaction with police: Using procedural justice to improve police legitimacy.  The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 40(1), 27-42.

Norman, J. (2009).  Seen and Not Heard.  Young People’s Perceptions of the police.  Policing, 3(4), 364-372.

Reisig, M.D. & Lloyd, C. (2009).  Procedural justice, police legitimacy, and helping the police fight crime.  Police Quarterly, 12(1), 42-62.

Mazerolle, L., Bennett, S., Davis, J., & Manning, M. (2009). Legitimacy in policing. Research Preview. Brisbane, Queensland: ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security.

Stuart, J., Fondarcaro, M., Miller, S.A., Brown, V. & Brank, E.M. (2008).  Procedural justice in family conflict resolution and deviant peer group involvement among adolescents.  Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 37(6), 674-684.

Murphy, K., Hinds, L. & Fleming, J. (2008).  Encouraging public cooperation and support for police.  Policing and Society, 18(2), 136-155.

Murphy, K. & Tyler, T.R. (2008).  Procedural justice and compliance behaviour: The mediating role of emotions. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38(4), 652-668.

Tyler, T.R. & Fagan, J. (2008).  Legitimacy And Cooperation: Why do people help the police fight crime in their communities?  Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, 6, 231-275.

Murphy, K., Hinds, L., & Fleming, J. (2008). Encouraging public cooperation and support for police. Policing & Society, 18(2), 136-155.

Tyler, T. R., & Fagan, J. (2008). Legitimacy and cooperation: Why do people help the police fight crime in their communities. Ohio St. J. Crim. L., 6, 231-275.

Abuwala, R. & Farole, D.J. (2008).  The effects of the Harlem housing court on tenant perceptions of justice.  New York: NY Center for Court Innovation.

Tyler, T. R. (Ed.). (2007). Legitimacy and Criminal Justice: An International Perspective. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
 

Tyler, T.R., Sherman, L.W., Strang, H., Barnes, G.C. & Woods, D.J.  (2007). Reintegrative shaming, procedural justice, and recidivism: The engagement of offenders’ psychological mechanisms in the Canberra RISE drinking-and-driving experiment. Law and Society Review, 41(3), 553-586.

Lentz, S.A. & Chaires, R.H. (2007).  The invention of Peel’s principles: A study of policing “textbook” history Journal of Criminal Justice, 35(1), 69-79.

Hinds, L. (2007).  Building police-youth relationships: The importance of procedural justiceYouth Justice, 7(3), 195-209.

Farole, D.J. (2007).  The New York State Residents Survey:Public perceptions of New York’s courts.   New York: Center for Court Innovation.

Horowitz, J. (2007). Making every encounter count: Building Trust and Confidence in the Police, National Institute of Justice Journal, 256, 8-11.
 

Papachristos, A. V., Meares, T. L., & Fagan, J. (2007). Attention Felons: Evaluation Project Safe Neighborhoods in Chicago. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 4(2), 223-272.

Justice in focus: The strategic plan for California Judicial Branch, 2006-2012 (2006).  San Francisco, CA: Judicial Council of California.

Tyler, T.R. (2006b).  Psychological perspectives on legitimacy and legitimation.  Annual Review of Psychology, 57, 375-400.

Tyler, T.R. (2006).  Why people obey the law. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Tyler, T. R. (2006). Psychological perspectives on legitimacy and legitimation. Annu. Rev. Psychol., 57, 375-400.

Shute, S., Hood, R. & Seemungan, F. (2005).  A fair hearing?: Ethnic minorities in the criminal courts.  UK: Willan.

MacCoun, R.J. (2005). Voice, Control, and Belonging: The Double-Edged Sword of Procedural Fairness, Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 1, 171-201.

Kane, R.J. (2005).  Compromised police legitimacy as a predictor of violent crime in structurally disadvantages communities.  Criminology, 43(2), 469-498.



Leadership


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