Measuring Justice: Defining Concepts, Developing Practice

Summary

In this project, researchers are gathering information about how experiences of criminal justice settings and processes can be conceptualised and measured. A justice experience can include contact with police, going to court, experiencing a criminal sanction, in the context of being a vicitm, witness, perpetrator or accused, family member or professional. How different people experience a criminal justice setting shapes their ideas about justice generally. A well established body of work on the theme of procedural justice has led the way in understanding this connection. Procedural justice will be an important lens through which this research collates information on how we define and measure particular experiences. In addition, the concept of person-centred service, which originated in health care settings, increasingly informs justice policy, and is included as an analytical frame in this research. The research will produce a synthesis of definitional debates and methodologies for understanding experiences of justice. This has the aim of contributing to theoretical understanding as well as a practical aim of developing outputs that can support rigorous means of documenting the user experience in Scottish justice contexts.

This work is funded by the Scottish Government and will run from October 2018 through May 2019. The research team consists of Co-investigators Sarah Armstrong, Trish McCulloch and Beth Weaver and Research Assistant Dominic Reed.