Procedural Justice and Legitimacy in Prisons: A Review of Extant Empirical Literature

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Significant in the management of a safe and secure custodial environment is the compliance of incarcerated persons with the prison rules and the directives of prison officers. In recent years, there has been increased research focus on the role of normative compliance in the prison environment, which is postulated to derive from the perceptions of legitimacy and procedural justice of those who are incarcerated. This article presents the findings of a scoping review of the empirical literature as it relates to procedural justice and legitimacy in prison settings. This literature is charted and then analyzed across two primary themes, namely “Shaping Perceptions of Procedural Justice and Legitimacy” and “Procedural Justice, Legitimacy, and Compliance.” The presence of normative compliance in prisons and the contribution of procedurally just treatment to perceptions of legitimacy held by persons who are incarcerated are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-163
Number of pages21
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2021


  • correctional officers
  • corrections
  • legitimacy
  • prisons
  • procedural justice


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