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  • Procedural Justice and Management Accountability

    Robert E. Worden, Sarah J. McLean

    Chapter from the book: Worden R. & McLean S. 2017. Mirage of Police Reform: Procedural Justice and Police Legitimacy.


    Police systems of management accountability do not normally measure the procedural justice with which police act in their encounters with citizens. In the two study departments, survey results were summarized on a monthly basis at departmental Compstat meetings. The performance measurement was expected to prompt managers to make greater efforts to manage these outcomes, and so procedural justice was expected to rise following the initiation of the Compstat feedback. Managerial approaches varied, forming a management continuum. Some managers gave regular attention during roll calls to the quality of police-citizen interaction, explaining both what procedural justice means and why it is important. Others attended to the issue only intermittently, alluding to what it means for officers’ conduct, but not its rationale. Still others were skeptical or even dismissive of the importance of “customer service.” Performance measurement was loosely coupled with practice, and procedural justice in terms of citizens’ subjective experience did not increase detectably over time. But on one of the three Schenectady platoons, whose commander and supervisors provided sustained and uniform attention to and support for “customer service,” we detected an improvement in officers’ procedural justice.

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    Worden R. & McLean S. 2017. Procedural Justice and Management Accountability. In: Worden R. & McLean S, Mirage of Police Reform. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.30.h

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    Published on May 12, 2017