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.
Written by Greg Berman, director of the Center for Court Innovation, and Julian Adler, director of policy and research, Start Here from the New Press offers a road map of concrete actions to reduce the number of people sent to jail and prison, highlighting key lessons from successful programs across the country.
In partnership with the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center and State Justice Institute, the Center developed and pilot-tested a court website prototype founded in procedural justice principles. The idea was to give courts sample language, imagery, and layout advice—informed by a user experience designer—to turn a typical visit to a court website into a trust-building opportunity. This toolkit describes the key building blocks of a model website, strategies for implementation, and lessons learned from pilot courts.
In an effort to improve fairness, a Manhattan courthouse made physical improvements to the building itself and implemented changes in how judges and court officers interacted with visitors. The Crime Report highlights findings from our recent study that these efforts aren't enough on their own to change perceptions of the justice system.
Legislation like the recent New York State justicereforms is a powerful tool, but it's no magic bullet. As former New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and our director, Greg Berman, argue, lasting change also requires the slow grind of transforming practice and culture.