In recent years research has made significant strides in understanding the manner in which procedural fairness practices can enhance the work of police forces by raising compliance levels. Numerous police forces have implemented procedural fairness based policies and practices. This body of research and experience has clear relevance to courts and judges. First, public perceptions of police fairness influence their perceptions about the entire legal system. Second, judges and courts can learn lessons from the experience of police departments that can be applied to the court setting. The articles and presentations below highlight how procedural justice can increase adherence to the law.
The Paradox of American Policing: Performance Without Legitimacy COPS Newsletter
Professor Tom Tyler, Yale Law School
Legitimacy and Policing: The Benefits of Self-Regulation Beto Lecture Series Video Presentation
Professor Tom Tyler, Yale Law School
Professor Tyler argues that a change should be made in the evaluation of police, drawing on the psychology of legitimacy, which is rooted procedural justice. Adhering to the tenets of procedural fairness increases the perceived legitimacy of police in the community, which has several benefits, including increased and continued adherence to laws and orders over time.
Trust in justice and the legitimacy of legal authorities: Topline findings from a European comparative study
Mike Hough, Jonathan Jackson and Ben Bradford (October 2012) and
Legitimacy, Trust and Compliance: An Empirical Test of Procedural Justice Theory using the European Social Survey
Hough, M., Jackson, J., and Bradford, B. (2013 forthcoming) in Legitimacy and Criminal Justice: An International Exploration, Yale University Press
These related works present and discuss findings of an empirical test of procedural justice theory using the European Social Survey. Attention is given to the background and political context of procedural justice theory. Particularly, the authors examine the policing results from the survey. Policy implications surrounding the findings are addressed in the pieces.
Police Legitimacy in Action: Lessons for Theory and Policy (abstract only)
Ben Bradford, Jonathan Jackson, and Mike Hough (March 2013)
From abstract, "This essay considers the nature and importance of legitimacy in the context of policing policy and practice. On what basis is police legitimacy established, maintained and undermined? What are the implications of the extant body of empirical evidence for policing policy and practice? We concentrate on Tyler’s procedural justice model, but also other social processes that seem to shape or influence people’s legitimating beliefs and actions. In doing so, we outline some as yet unanswered theoretical, as well as policy-oriented, questions."
Procedural Justice, July 2011 Podcast and Transcript
Jeremy Writt, of COPS office, and Charlene Moe, senior program specialist, University of Illinois Center for Public Safety and Justice
This podcast answers the question "why is procedural justice important?" The ensuing conversation centers on the effect procedural justice can have on law abiding and law enforcement in a community. The enhancement of law enforcement through procedural justice ensures that the community as a whole will become more law abiding.
Procedural Justice Concepts in Arlington, Texas PowerPoint Presentation
Theron L. Bowman, Ph.D., Police Chief, Arlington Police Department
Chief Bowman's outline of procedural fairness applications gives an overview of concrete actions a police department can take to advance law abiding in the community and the standing of the department in the eyes of its employees and the community.
Procedural Justice for Law Enforcement Agencies PowerPoint Presentation
Laura L. Kunard, Ph.D., University of Illinois, Center for Public Safety and Justice
Dr. Kunard's presentation is geared towards offering local law enforcement officers practical tips and examples of procedural fairness principles. These tips and examples are aimed towards promoting officers' understanding of how following appropriate procedural justice principles can help them in the performance of their law enforcement duties.
Procedural Fairness in Antitrust Investigations Speech
Christine A. Varney, Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice
Assistant Attorney General Varney's speech provides a detailed look at procedural justice as practiced at the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division. The introduction and application of procedural justice practice has allowed the Antitrust Division to make gains in enforcement and conviction.
Why do People Comply with the Law? Legitimacy and Influence of Legal Institutions
Jonathan Jackson et al., 2012
This article analyzes data from England and Wales, concluding that a "moral alignment between the citizens and the police is as least as important in explaining variation in compliance as...obligation to obey the police." Jackson et el. proceed to develop a model where a population consents to policing not only because they have a legal obligation, but also because they view the police as "operating within an appropriate ethical framework." this model is another example of how operating with principles of procedural fairness can lead to increasing the legitimacy of police.
Understanding Minority Group Willingness to Cooperate with Police: Taking Another Look at Legitimacy
Kristina Murphy and Adrian Cherney, Alfred Deakin Research Institute (2010)
This article argues that, although in most cases procedural justice can be used effectively by the police to both increase public cooperation and institutional legitimacy, in some instances procedural justice can be ineffective. Particularly when dealing with groups that have a distrust of the police because of negative previous experiences, "procedural justice may be counterproductive because of the levels of distrust towards themotives of the police." In these cases, there is a "recipe for poor relationships and social distancing that makes it difficult for authorities to build legitimacy and secure cooperation." One explanation that Murphy and Cherney offer is that these groups may feel that they are denied "some level of input into processes that affect them."
Contact and Confidence: Revisiting the Impact of Public Encounters With the Police
Ben Bradford, Jonathon Jackson, and Elizabeth Stanko, London School of Economics (2009)
This article summarizes data from the British Crime Survey, the primary tool used to capture public confidence in the police in Britain. The study finds that 1) a drop in public confidence is correlated with a growing dissatisfaction with personal contact, and 2) increased visibility of and information about police activity is associated with higher confidence. The authors then argue that that procedural justice and increased communication will help restore public confidence in the police.
The Legitimacy of Police Among Young African-American Men
Tracey Meares, Yale Law School (2009)
Tyler and Fagan demonstrate, through a very clever research design that allows them to determine causal connections between the experiences that people have with the police and their later judgments of police legitimacy, that positive experiences do indeed lead to positive evaluations of police legitimacy at a later date. Importantly, their findings hold even when the relevant experience the respondent had with the police led to a negative outcome.
Legitimacy and Cooperation: Why Do People Help the Police Fight Crime in Their Communities?
Tom Tyler and Jeffrey Fagan, 6 Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law 231 (2008)
Drawing on data from a survey of New York City residents, Professors Tyler and Fagan show that personal experience with procedural justice in an interaction with the police increased residents' views of police legitimacy. Legitimacy, in turn, increased the likelihood that residents would cooperate with police.
The Effects of Trust in Authority and Procedural Fairness on Cooperation (link to paid article)
David de Cremer and Tom Tyler, 92 Journal of Applied Psychology 639 (2007)
Contrary to a 1998 study by Van den Bos et al., Cremer and Tyler found that, when trust in authority is high, procedural fairness has a strong effect on cooperation with police. When trust in authority is low, the correlation between procedural fairness and cooperation disappears. "[P]rocedural fairness did not reveal any effect when trust in the authority was low." Cremer and Tyler conclude that one practical implication of their study is that "people are willing to reciprocate the kind behavior of a fair enacting authority by displaying willingness to support and cooperate with that authority."
Attention Felons: Evaluating Project Safe Neighborhoods in Chicago
Andrew Papachristos, Tracey Meares, and Jeffrey Fagan, Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (2007)
This study analyzes the effects of several different aspects of the Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN) initiatives in Chicago. Of the several variables the study looks at, offender notification meetings had the greatest effect on neighborhood-level crime rates. The offender notification meetings stress that offenders have a choice and help to make sure they understand the consequences of that choice: reoffending means they will go to jail. This feature of the PSN initiative highlights principles of procedural justice, and is an example of their practical effectiveness.
The Role of Procedural Justice and Legitimacy in Shaping Public Support for Policing
Jason Sunshine and Tom Tyler, 37 Law and Society Review 513 (2003)
Professors Sunshine and Tyler use data from New York City residents to examine several aspects of police legitimacy and procedural fairness. After comparing procedural fairness to other factors such as the police performance and the distribution of police services, they conclude that "the key antecedent of legitimacy is the fairness of the procedures used by the police." Legitimacy, in turn, impacted peoples' compliance with the law. "[N]o other independent variable measured had such a sweeping influence on police/community relations [as did legitimacy.]"