Measuring Procedural Justice in Police-Citizen Encounters

Tal Jonathan-Zamir*, Stephen D. Mastrofski, Shomron Moyal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Procedural justice has dominated recent discussions of police interactions with the public. It has mostly been measured from the perspective of citizens (using surveys or interviews), but several important questions about predictors and outcomes of fair police treatment are best answered using direct observations of police-citizen interactions. Building on prior observational studies, we develop and validate an instrument for measuring procedural justice as it is exercised by the police in the natural setting of their encounters with the public. In doing so, we adopt a “formative” rather than the common “reflective” approach, based on the assumption that specific behaviors that make up procedural justice do not reflect a single underlying construct but rather form one. We justify this approach and validate our instrument accordingly. We also discuss the implications of our measurement for future research on procedural justice in police behavior.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)845-871
Number of pages27
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number5
StatePublished - 3 Sep 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.


  • formative measures
  • legitimacy
  • policing
  • procedural justice


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