Source: (2007) Criminology & Public Policy. 6(4): 835-842.

The central message of research on procedural fairness in the criminal justice system is the importance of the quality of the interaction between the public and the representatives of criminal justice institutions. A large and methodologically diverse body of research attests to the practical benefits produced when criminal justice representatives reach decisions based on a commitment to procedural fairness. When individuals become involved in the criminal justice system as victims, suspects, charged defendants, witnesses, or jury members, they perceive procedural fairness as consisting of four elements. First, procedural fairness involves being treated with dignity and respect. Second, decisions must be clear and impartial based on a thorough determination and analysis of the facts of a case. Third, there must be an opportunity to express opinions and provide input to the decisionmakers about procedures and decisions. Fourth, decisionmakers must care about the rights and circumstances of those involved in the criminal justice system, and this must be expressed in sincere concern and fair treatment. This paper details how these features of procedural fairness can be implemented by police; defense attorneys; courts; probation and parole personnel; corrections personnel; and new forums for criminal justice, such as community policing, restorative justice, and problem-solving courts. Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.gov.