Does Legitimacy Necessarily Tame Power? Some Ethical Issues in Translating Procedural Justice Principles into Justice Policy
18 Pages Posted: 24 May 2016 Last revised: 6 Aug 2016
Date Written: May 24, 2016
This article examines some of the ethical dilemmas associated with research on procedural justice. Most of this research has involved surveys of the public, involving attitude measurement amongst random samples of adults. These tend not to give rise to the more common ethical dilemmas that criminological researchers encounter, to do with coerced consent and the preservation of anonymity and confidentiality. However, there are significant ethical issues in the application of this research to policy and practice. They relate largely to the risks in providing utilitarian justifications for the adoption of values, and in the use of low-visibility behavioural techniques to nudge people into compliance with the law. These ethical dilemmas offer ‘knowledge tools’ that could be misused in the pursuit of consent to authority – even if individual research subjects are not exposed to any harm in the research process. These – resolvable – dilemmas need to be surfaced and discussed.
Keywords: Policing, Procedural Justice, Ethics, Compliance, Nudges
JEL Classification: K11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation