Procedural justice seeks to ensure that the justice system treats everybody with dignity and respect.
Research has shown that when court users perceive the justice system to be fair, they are more likely to comply with court orders and follow the law in the future—regardless of the outcome of their case. Researchers such as Tom Tyler of Yale Law School have boiled down procedural justice to a handful of key elements: treating court users with dignity and respect, ensuring that they understand the process, that they have a voice, and that decisions are made neutrally. The Center for Court Innovation works to promote procedural justice in the U.S. and internationally. In addition to testing promising practices on the ground in our operating programs, we offer training and expert assistance to jurisdictions interested in assessing or enhancing their procedural justice practices.
Harlem Community Justice Center
The Harlem Community Justice Center works to increase housing stability, engage young people in their community, and help individuals returning from prison transition home.
MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge
The MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge seeks to reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails.
Red Hook Community Justice Center
The nation's first multi-jurisdictional community court, the Red Hook Community Justice Center seeks to solve neighborhood problems in southwest Brooklyn.
In Misdemeanorland, Issa Kohler-Hausmann argues the lower courts are no longer primarily concerned with whether people actually committed the offense they’ve been accused of. Instead, the focus is on future behavior: upholding social order through managing and assessing—often over long stretches—everyone with the misfortune of entering Misdemeanorland. It's an argument that forces us to rethink what justice should look like in low-level cases.
This study highlights the voices of justice-involved individuals describing experiences with procedural justice. Findings suggest those surveyed do not view the justice system as legitimate or fair, and that those opinions are largely shaped by individual interactions with system-actors, as well as by broader perceived factors such as institutional racism, the over-policing of minor crimes, and a lack of accountability of all criminal justice agents.
Our director, Greg Berman, argues the fight to transform the American justice system will not be won "from the offices of our foundations, elected officials, or editorial boards." Along with macro reform ideas, look for micro changes in practice with far-reaching implications.