Rightful Policing

New Perspectives in Policing

February 9, 2015
Author: Tracey L. Meares, with Peter Neyroud

In this report from the Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety (2008-2014), funded by the OJP National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the author explains there are two dominant ways that experts, whether they are officials involved in the enterprise of policing or scholars who study it, evaluate policing. The first yardstick relies upon the lawfulness of police action, and the second emphasizes effectiveness of police action at reducing crime on the other. This essay by Tracey L. Meares (with Peter Neyroud), the Walton Hale Hamilton Professor of Law at Yale Law School presents a third way - “rightful policing.”

Rightful Policing attempts to account for what the public says it cares about when say that they care about when assessing both individual officer behavior and agency conduct. Rightful Policing is attentive to both lawfulness and effectiveness simultaneously. Built upon a foundation social psychological research concerning procedural justice, rightful policing focuses more on how people are treated than the outcomes of that treatment. By cleaving to the ideas described in this report, police can be more effective, safe, and achieve greater cooperation with the public.


Findings and conclusions in these publications are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice

Tags: Crime Crime , Criminal Justice Criminal Justice , Justice Justice , Law Enforcement Law Enforcement , Safety Safety