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Mirage of Police Reform

Procedural Justice and Police Legitimacy

Robert E. Worden (Author), Sarah J. McLean (Author)

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Paperback, 224 pages
ISBN: 9780520292413
May 2017
$34.95, £24.95

At publication date, a free ebook version of this title will be available through Luminos, University of California Press’s Open Access publishing program. Visit to learn more.

In the U.S., the exercise of police authority—and the public’s trust that police authority is used properly—is a recurring concern.  Contemporary prescriptions for police reform hold that the public would better trust the police and feel a greater obligation to comply and cooperate if police-citizen interactions were marked by higher levels of procedural justice by police. 

In this book, authors Robert E. Worden and Sarah J. McLean argue that the procedural justice model of reform is a mirage. From a distance, procedural justice seemingly offers a relief from strained police-community relations. But a closer look at police organizations and police-citizen interactions show that the relief offered by such reform actually proves illusory.

Robert E. Worden is Director of the John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety and Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University at Albany, SUNY.

Sarah J. McLean is Associate Director and Director of Research and Technical Assistance at the John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety.

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