Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

Rethinking police procedural justice

List of Authors: Schaap Dorian, Saarikkomäki Elsa


Publication year: 2022

Journal: Theoretical Criminology

Journal name in source: THEORETICAL CRIMINOLOGY

Journal acronym: THEOR CRIMINOL

Number of pages: 18

ISSN: 1362-4806

eISSN: 1461-7439



Self-archived copy’s web address:

While procedural justice theory has become the dominant paradigm in thinking about police legitimacy, it has several important weaknesses. First, procedural justice's conceptually essential distinction between 'process' and 'outcome' is blurred in reality, which is visible both in empirical operationalizations and in researchers' understanding of police work. Second, procedural justice theory views society through an implicit consensus lens, making it poorly equipped to address police-citizen conflicts and structural societal inequalities. This is evident in the theory's inability to unpack the dynamics of police-citizen interactions and its reluctance to problematize the police role in contemporary plural societies. To advance our understanding of police legitimacy and police-citizen relations, particularly among marginalized groups, we strongly recommend working toward theoretical renewal and empirical diversification.

Downloadable publication

This is an electronic reprint of the original article.
This reprint may differ from the original in pagination and typographic detail. Please cite the original version.

Last updated on 2022-13-04 at 13:31