Neutrality as an Element of Perceived Justice in Prison: Consistency versus Individualization
13 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2014
Date Written: November 20, 2014
In the procedural justice literature, usually four elements are distinguished that are assumed to contribute to the experienced feelings of justice of those who are confronted with the power of the authorities: voice, neutrality, respect & dignity, and trust in the authorities. According to Tyler (2010), the same elements are decisive for the experienced feelings of legitimacy of prisoners and other persons subjected to penal correction. From the general prison literature, however, it becomes clear that besides neutrality and consistency, also individual treatment is an important element of how prisoners perceive legitimacy in prison. Based on the results of a qualitative study of the experiences of Belgian prisoners detained in a Dutch penitentiary the tension between consistency and individuality is defined and further developed. The results of this study can have a broader significance than for the prison field as such, since the tension between individualized treatment and consistency is a topic that has so far been neglected in the procedural justice literature.
Keywords: procedural justice, fairness, prison, prisoner-staff relations, neutrality, consistency, individualization
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