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Policing and procedural justice: a state-of-the-art review

Chirstopher Donner (Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, NC, USA)
Jon Maskaly (Department of Criminology, Law & Justice, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Lorie Fridell (Department of Criminology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA)
Wesley G. Jennings (Department of Criminology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 16 March 2015



The purpose of this paper is to systematically and comprehensively review the literature on procedural justice in policing, in the context of both police-citizen encounters and organizational decision making.


The current study reflects a narrative meta-review of procedural justice within policing generated through a systematic and exhaustive search of several academic databases (e.g. Criminal Justice Abstracts, Criminology: A SAGE Full Text Collection, EBSCO Host, PsychInfo, etc.).


The current meta-review identified 46 studies that matched the selection criteria. In this body of research, 28 studies analyzed procedural justices within the context of police-citizen encounters and 18 studies examined procedural justice within the context of police organization decision making. In general, the body of research yields two main findings. First, citizens’ perceptions of procedural justice during interactions with the police positively affect their views of police legitimacy, satisfaction with police services, satisfaction with interaction disposition, trust in the police, and confidence in the police. Second, the perception of police personnel of procedural justice in organizational decision making positively influences their views of decision outcomes, trust in the administration, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, desire to stay with the agency, and overall views of the agency.

Practical implications

The practical implications derived from this meta-review are twofold. First, police personnel engaged in police-citizen encounters reap many benefits when they treat citizens with fairness and maintain an encounter process that is marked by objectivity and equity. Second, police supervisors and administrators reap benefits when their subordinates perceive that there is procedural justice within the organization.


The state-of-the-art meta-review on procedural justice in policing is the first of its kind. This study comprehensively reviews the literature on two important bodies of policing research. This study will be useful for researchers who wish to further explore procedural justice issues in policing, and for police managers/administrators who wish to strengthen citizens’ perceptions of the police and their employees’ perceptions of the organization.



Donner, C., Maskaly, J., Fridell, L. and Jennings, W.G. (2015), "Policing and procedural justice: a state-of-the-art review", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 38 No. 1, pp. 153-172.



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