What Do Defendants Really Think?: Procedural Justice and Legitimacy in the Criminal Justice System

Research Report

What Do Defendants Really Think?: Procedural Justice and Legitimacy in the Criminal Justice System

September 1, 2018

Abstract

Research suggests that people are more likely to perceive the justice system as fair when they feel they are treated with respect, understand the process, have opportunities to be heard, and that decision-makers are unbiased. Collectively, these factors underpin the idea of procedural justice. This in-depth study from the Center for Court Innovation highlights the voices of justice-system involved individuals in Newark, N.J. and Cleveland, Ohio, using personal narratives to describe experiences with procedural justice. Findings suggest that, on the whole, the individuals surveyed do not view the system as legitimate or fair, and that those opinions are largely shaped by their individual interactions with justice-system actors such as police officers, judges, lawyers, and correctional officers, as well as by broader perceived factors such as institutional racism, the over-policing of minor crimes, a court and penal system excessively focused on punishment, and a lack of accountability of all criminal justice agents.

External Link:

https://www.courtinnovation.org/publications/what-do-defendants-really-think

Research Area: 

Centers

To reuse content from Urban Institute, visit copyright.com, search for the publications, choose from a list of licenses, and complete the transaction.