Procedural Justice System in the United States

Procedural justice unlike procedural due process is a psychological concept that influences the perceptions of procedures that are used to make decisions. Procedural justice system is the fairness employed in settling of dispute and allocation of resources. It is involved in the administration of justice and legal proceedings. It may as well be used in the informal resolution of conflicts or even divided benefits. It is concerned with the fairness and accountability of the processes which are involved in decision making.

In the administration of the justice it is required that all the parties involved in the dispute are given a chance to be heard and this constitutes to what is commonly referred to as a fair trial. This paper keenly evaluates the procedural justice system in the United States of America. In the mid 1980s procedural justice researchers focused primarily on the structural characteristics of formal decision making procedures and they paid little attention to the interpersonal factors.

(Walker et al, 1975) Empirical studies have shown that people will accept unfavorable judgments as long as they believe that their right to be heard was not violated. Employees feel more satisfied when their voices are able to be heard. (Greenberg et al, 2005) This would therefore mean that procedural justice strongly influences the legitimacy of the institutions processes. The concept of procedural justice therefore has many forms and is applicable in numerous cases. Procedural justice encompasses three distinctive concepts; the perfect, the pure and the imperfect procedural justice.

(John, 1971). For the pure theory there are no criteria for the outcome besides the procedure itself. In the perfect case there is a criterion for a fair trial and a procedure that guarantees a fair outcome. The imperfect has a criterion for a fair trial but not a method to guarantee a fair outcome. The theory of procedural justice is usually controversial with ranging views on what constitutes of a fair trial. These views fall under three families, the outcome model, the balancing model and the participation model.

The outcome model is dependent on the fact that the process produces the correct outcome. The balancing model is based on the idea that there is a balance between the outcome it produces and the cost of producing it. The participation model is based on the fact that those who are affected are given an opportunity to participate in the making of the decision. For fair procedures a procedural justice must fulfill the following; consistent, bias-suppression, representativeness, accuracy, accurability and ethical. (Edgar et al, 1988).

Similar judgments for similar cases independent of all the other factors will make the procedural justice to be more credible. Procedural justice has significant influences on the people’s attitude, values and cooperative behaviors. People want to maximize their control over decisions that determine their outcomes when interacting with others. (Tom & Steven, 2000). The procedural justice system requires that those who are affected by the decision have adequate access to the information that will be used to make the decision.

The demerit is that explanations as to why a certain decision is taken usually happen after the decision has already been made. In procedural justice one also has the right to be represented and in so doing the procedural justice credibility is held up high. Procedural justice is differentially important depending on the context within which a decision is being made. The procedural justice has not been without challenges with some people seeing it as a measure of status and they therefore use it to gauge how influential they are by the judgments they receive.

(Tom & Steven, 2000). In essence people want control the outcome when there is a decision involving others that has to be made. Others want the chance to make their ideas known at such forums because they believe that they are given the opportunity to talk to those in high status. Conclusion The concept of procedural justice has become more popular with organizations that study the behaviors of their employees; however the balancing test may lure an organization into expensive and unnecessary procedures in an effort to improve the employees’ perception of procedural justice.

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