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Procedural Justice in Action

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2017
2 pages
After reviewing the elements of procedural justice, this paper outlines the consensus of a roundtable discussion among experts on overcoming obstacles and identifying strategies for improving the implementation of procedural justice, and an overview of a number of promising criminal court practices is provided.
Procedural justice research has indicated that when defendants and court users perceive that the court process is fair, they are more likely to comply with court orders and follow the law in the future, even though they may be held accountable for their criminal behavior. The four key dimensions of procedural justice are respect for defendants, a voice in court proceedings, understanding of issues in each case, and unbiased decision-making. In September 2016, a group of court leaders and experts in criminal justice from across the Nation met to examine strategies for increasing public trust in the court system. The intent of this roundtable was to produce a set of evidence-informed, recommended practices that criminal court professionals can implement in promoting perceptions of court fairness. A number of promising practices in the procedural justice model are outlined in this paper. The recommended practices are divided into three court domains: the individual and group behavior of court staff, features of an environmental design that facilitate perceptions of fairness and respect among court participants, and agency policies and practices that promote procedural justice.