Correlates of Procedural Justice in American Law Enforcement

Matthew Kenyon

Major Professor: Stephen Mastrofski, PhD, Department of Criminology, Law and Society

Committee Members: David B. Wilson, James Willis, Dennis Rosenbaum

Enterprise Hall, #318
November 09, 2018, 01:00 PM to 03:00 PM


While there have been many calls for the expanded use of procedural justice in American law enforcement agencies over the past few years, little is known about what can be done to increase adoption. An examination of the personal and contextual factors that correlate with the support for and use of procedural justice by law enforcement officers will be completed using survey data from over 6,300 officers across 64 agencies to gain insight into what may be useful in increasing adoption. Results indicate that having values compatible with procedural justice, a strong organizational commitment, and a college degree all correlate with an increase in a predisposition to act in procedurally just ways. An officer’s race interacts with procedural justice in different ways, with non-white officers more likely to support procedrual justice but white officers more predisposed to use procedraul justice. Officer perceptions of their agency leadership’s support for procedural justice generally correlate with a predisposition to use procedural justice, but these perceptions do not always align with the chief’s stance on procedural justice. Effects were tested for possible mediation by an officer’s support for procedural justice as an innovation, but these results could not support a meaningful mediation effect due to small indirect effect sizes.

While the effect sizes are small across the variables, these results suggest that increasing the use of procedural justice can best be served by focusing on the personal factors that affect a predisposition to procedural justice. Police chiefs can focus on hiring diverse, college educated officers and training them to value a procedurally just model of policing. In addition, future research should focus on longitudinal studies of these factors as well as broader studies of other factors that may influence procedural justice use.