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 demonstration projects, research, and technical assistance.

Request for Proposals: Apply for Free Procedural Justice Assessment

The Center for Court Innovation and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance seek proposals from criminal courts interested in being assessed for their use of procedural justice practices. Four courts will be selected to receive an on-site assessment and recommendations. The ultimate goal is to advance procedural justice by (1) highlighting promising practices for the field at large, (2) helping jurisdictions identify problem areas, and (3) outlining short- and longer-term plans to implement appropriate interventions. Read full application instructions here. The application deadline is Friday, June 12.

In The News

  • Q&A with Julian Adler of the Center for Court Innovation on how procedural justice can reduce crime.
  • Practical Tips and Tools

    The Center for Court Innovation has assembled several practical tools, including defendant interview instruments and courtroom observation protocols, to assist courts in assessing the extent to which they are implementing the principles of  procedural justice. For more information, click here.

    Articles

    In Focus: Tracey L. Meares

    In Focus: Tracey L. Meares

    Yale Scholar Promotes Procedural Justice, Violence Prevention

    Yale Law School professor Tracey L. Meares at the Community Justice 2014 summit in San Francisco.Yale Law School professor Tracey L. Meares at the Community Justice 2014 summit in San Francisco.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.

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    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.

    Articles

    Improving Courtroom Communication: A National Experiment

    Improving Courtroom Communication: A National Experiment

    By Emily Gold

    With funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Center for Court Innovation and The National Judicial College have launched a national demonstration project that will attempt to improve procedural justice in an urban criminal court setting.

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    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

    Kevin Burke, District Judge, Hennepin County, Minnesota

    Kevin Burke, District Judge, Hennepin County, Minnesota

    Kevin Burke helped lead the effort to create the Hennepin County Drug Court and advocated for the creation of the Hennepin County Mental Health Court as well. Here he talks about the success of these courts, and how Hennepin County has made efforts to institutionalize problem solving in its court system.

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    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.

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    Publications

    The New York State Residents Survey: Public Perceptions of New York's Courts

    The New York State Residents Survey: Public Perceptions of New York's Courts

    By Donald J. Farole, Jr.

    This study reports the results of a survey of 1,002 adult residents of New York State concerning their perceptions of the courts. The study found that New Yorkers have high levels of trust and confidence in the courts in general, although racial and ethnic minorities, particularly African-Americans, are far less supportive than are whites. The study also determined that most New Yorkers have little knowledge of how their local courts work.

    Articles

    Judges Matter: How Courts Reduce Crime and Save Money

    Judges Matter: How Courts Reduce Crime and Save Money

    By Greg Berman and Michael Rempel

    This op-ed from the New York Law Journal reports findings from a drug court study that suggests the success of drug courts stems largely from the judge.

    Most Popular Research

    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.

    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.

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