Procedural Justice

Research has shown that when defendants and litigants perceive the court process to be fair, they are more likely to comply with court orders and follow the law in the future—regardless of whether they “win” or “lose” their case. The Center for Court Innovation is committed to advancing the idea of procedural justice through operating programs, research, and providing expert assistance.

The Center for Court Innovation, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Quinnipiac University School of Law, will host Justice Innovation in Times of Change: New Challenges, New Opportunities on September 30, 2016 at the Quinnipiac University School of Law. 

The one-day summit will provide an opportunity for practitioners both inside and outside the justice system—including policymakers, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officials, court administrators, police, clinical staff, and non-profit organizations—to learn about a range of topics relating to chronic lower-level offending. Sessions will cover best practices in procedural justice, risk and needs assessment, pretrial diversion, addiction and treatment, and alternative sentencing. 

Learn more about the conference and register here

In The News

  • The Guardian profiles Newark Community Solutions, examining the origins and evolution of the program and the growing national interest in procedural justice.
  • During a speech at the Community Policing Roundtable in Pittsburgh, U.S. Attorney General Lorreta E. Lynch highlights a collaboration between the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Center for Court Innovation to conduct a procedural justice assessment in Allegheny County courts.
  • Judge Alex Calabrese of the Red Hook Community Justice Center joins Latino USA to discuss the Justice Center's emphasis on procedural justice.
  • Victoria Pratt, chief judge of Newark Municipal Court, describes her work on procedural justice during an appearance on "The Melissa Harris-Perry Show" on MSNBC.
  • Q&A with Julian Adler of the Center for Court Innovation on how procedural justice can reduce crime.

Four Sites Selected for Procedural Justice Assessments

Following a national solicitation, the Center for Court Innovation and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance have selected four criminal courts to participate in a procedural justice assessment in the fall of 2015. The jurisdictions are:

  • Essex County Superior Court (Salem, Mass.)
  • 5th Judicial District of Pennsylvania (Allegheny County, Penn.)
  • Multnomah County Circuit Court (Ore.)
  • Utah State Court System

Each site has committed to examining local operations in an effort to advance procedural justice locally and nationally.

Practical Tips and Tools

The Center for Court Innovation has published two new resources in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance. Practical Tips for Courts outlines concrete communication strategies aligned with procedural justice, and the Evaluation Toolkit includes a user-friendly set of template instruments and instructions for assessing current practices. Additional resources and tools are available here.

Publications

Navigating the Bail Payment System in New York City: Findings and Recommendations

Navigating the Bail Payment System in New York City: Findings and Recommendations

By Elise White, Melissa Labriola, Ashmini G. Kerodal, Elise Jensen and Michael Rempel

Approximately 16,000 individuals per year are bailed out of Department of Correction facilities in New York City, in most cases requiring family or friends to make the sometimes lengthy and costly journey to city jails. With funding from the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, researchers at the Center for Court Innovation examined the current bail payment process both within the courts and at Department of Correction facilities. This report documents the current process and provides 17 recommendations to change practice. Based on these recommendations, the city is working to launch the first-ever online bail payment system in partnership with the state courts and has begun implementing a number of other solutions detailed here.

Video

Meet the Judge Who Assigns Essays in Court

Meet the Judge Who Assigns Essays in Court

Newark Municipal Court Chief Judge Victoria Pratt discusses procedural justice and her work with Newark Community Solutions

Articles

In Focus: Tracey L. Meares

In Focus: Tracey L. Meares

Tracey L. Meares, Walton Hale Hamilton Professor of Law at Yale Law School, has written and lectured widely on crime prevention, procedural justice, and community capacity building, with an emphasis on empirical investigation. She was instrumental in developing "Project Safe Neighborhoods," a groundbreaking empirical approach to violence reduction that was documented to curtail violence in Chicago.

Read More

Publications

Improving Courtroom Communication: A Procedural Justice Experiment in Milwaukee

Improving Courtroom Communication: A Procedural Justice Experiment in Milwaukee

By Erin Farley, Elise Jensen and Michael Rempel

This is an evaluation of a pilot project at the Milwaukee County Criminal Court intended to enhance defendant perceptions of procedural justice by improving the oral, written, and nonverbal communication used by judges. Courtroom observations measured an increase in the use of 14 practices inculding eye contact with defendants and the use of plain English to explain procedures and decisions.

Publications

Procedural Justice From the Bench: How Judges Can Improve the Effectiveness of Criminal Courts

Procedural Justice From the Bench: How Judges Can Improve the Effectiveness of Criminal Courts

By Greg Berman and Emily Gold

This essay from The Judges' Journal seeks to articulate lessons from drug courts that are applicable in all criminal courts. It includes concrete recommendations for judges on improving courtroom communication.

Interviews

Tom Tyler PhD, Professor, Yale University

Tom Tyler PhD, Professor, Yale University

Tom Tyler, a professor at Yale University and leading advocate of procedural justice, talks about recent research on the topic, as well as the challenges and opportunities for procedural justice practices to be institutionalized system-wide. For more, watch a video of his presentation "Why Procedural Justice Matters" at Community Justice 2012.


Read More

Most Popular Research

Publications

Evidence-Based Strategies for Working with Offenders

Evidence-Based Strategies for Working with Offenders

By Michael Rempel

This fact sheet distills a growing body of research about evidence-based strategies in five areas for reducing recidivism among criminal offenders: assessment, treatment, deterrence, procedural justice, and collaboration.

Video

Why Procedural Justice Matters: Tom R. Tyler at Community Justice 2012

Publications

Procedural Fairness in California: Initiatives, Challenges, and Recommendations

Procedural Fairness in California: Initiatives, Challenges, and Recommendations

By Rachel Porter

This report, commissioned by the Administrative Office of the Courts in California, describes initiatives in California's civil and traffic courts to improve procedural fairness. The report also contains a brief self-assessment tool that court administrators can use to examine procedural fairness in their local jurisdictions.

Contact
  • New York
  • 520 8th Avenue
  • 18th Floor
  • New York, NY 10018
  • phone: 646.386.3100
  • Syracuse
  • 601 Tully Street
  • Syracuse, NY 13204
  • phone: 315.266.4330
  • London
  • Canterbury Court
    1-3 Brixton Road
  • London, SW9 6DE
  • phone: +44 2076.329.060