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Article

Police Violence  

Jenna Milani, Ben Bradford, and Jonathan Jackson

The ability of the police to assert social control and reproduce social order depends, crucially, on the capacity to use force to achieve these ends—whether when restraining someone attempting to self-harm or shooting dead an armed terrorist. But what do we know about police use of force in the United States and England and Wales? Why does unjustified police use of force occur? And why do citizens have different views on the acceptability and unacceptability of various forms of police violence?

Article

Causes and Consequences of Police Self-Legitimacy  

Heather Prince, Kiseong Kuen, and Danielle S. Rudes

In recent years, research on policing, police legitimacy, and police decision-making has increased dramatically in part due to several high-profile police use of force and deadly shooting incidents in the United States. This line of studies largely focuses on individual-level factors such as police procedural justice during interactions with citizens from the perspective of the public. However, a growing body of studies suggests that police authority and legitimacy is not only formed by citizens’ evaluations and perceptions derived from police behaviors during the interactions. It is also shaped by factors from both individual-level and structural-level external sources of police organizations, such as citizens’ animus toward the police and crime rates of the jurisdiction. More importantly, research suggests that police culture and organizational-level factors, such as organizational justice and feeling recognition from others in an organization, play large roles in shaping officers’ self-legitimacy. The sense of low self-legitimacy derived from the above sources can lead officers to make racially biased decisions to reinforce their legitimate status with the public. Officers’ decision-making as well as their perceptions of self-legitimacy, by interacting each other, can play crucial roles in police negative behaviors toward citizens, such as use of deadly force, especially toward racial minorities. Some organizations have implemented changes such as implicit bias and procedural justice trainings, or body-worn camera requirements, but changes must be made at the overall organizational level to reduce racially biased police decision-making.

Article

The Characteristics of Illegal Markets  

Matías Dewey

The phenomenon of illegal markets is pervasive. The circulation of illegal goods and services reaches all social segments, crosses national boundaries, and produces enormous revenues. Scholarship has typically addressed issues of illegal exchanges by focusing on criminal organizations, their members’ activities, internal structures, and businesses while leaving the very notion of illegal markets conceptually underdeveloped. Different from organized crime, the notion of “illegal market” compels us to consider the demand side and to investigate the varied ways it relates to the supply side. Following the path opened up by economic sociology scholarship, this article brings illegal markets to the center of the scene in order to develop them conceptually, observe them in a differentiated way, and investigate their relationships with legal structures. From this perspective, the social organization of markets comes to the fore, highlighting such aspects as the formal and informal institutions sustaining illegal markets; the modes of internal coordination that deal with problems such as value, competition, or trust; moral attitudes toward the production, exchange, or consumption of certain products or services; the cultural elements or cognitive dispositions that promote illegal exchanges; the role of state power in defining what is and is not illegal, and thus how it controls certain exchanges; and the role of the enforcement of the law in the emergence, expansion, or extinction of these markets.

Article

Body Cameras and Policing  

Bryce Elling Peterson and Daniel S. Lawrence

Body-worn cameras (BWCs) are small devices that police officers can affix to their person—in a head-, shoulder-, or chest-mounted position—that can audio and video record their interactions with community members. BWCs have received strong support from the public and, in recent years, widespread buy-in from police leadership and officers because of their ability to improve accountability and transparency and enhance the collection of evidence. Implementation guidelines recommend that officers activate their BWCs during each officer–citizen interaction and inform the people they encounter that they are being recorded. Early research on this technology found that officers equipped with body cameras were significantly less likely to engage in force and receive citizen complaints. However, more recent studies with larger samples have had mixed findings about the impact of body cameras on use of force, citizen complaints, and other police activities and behaviors. Numerous legal and ethical considerations are associated with BWCs, including their implications for privacy concerns and public disclosure. However, police officials, policymakers, civil rights groups, and the public must continue to weigh these privacy concerns against the potential for BWCs to enhance police accountability and transparency. Future scholarship should focus on the degree to which BWCs can improve police–community relations and yield valuable evidence for both criminal cases and internal investigations.

Article

Procedural Justice in the Criminal Justice System  

Elise Sargeant, Julie Barkworth, and Natasha S. Madon

Fairness and equity are key concerns in modern liberal democracies. In step with this general trend, academics and practitioners have long been concerned with the fairness of procedures utilized by the criminal justice system. Definitions vary, but procedural justice is loosely defined as fair treatment and fair decision-making by authorities. In the criminal justice system, the procedural justice of authorities such as police officers, judicial officers, and correctional officers is evaluated by members of the public. Procedural justice in the criminal justice system is viewed as an end in and of itself, but it is also an opportunity to yield various outcomes including legitimacy, public compliance with the law, cooperation with criminal justice officials, and satisfaction with criminal justice proceedings and outcomes.

Article

Police Legitimacy, Procedural Justice, and Formal Social Control  

Robert E. Worden, Beau P. Holladay, and Sarah J. McLean

Procedurally just policing (PJP) has been hailed as a path to greater police legitimacy—which is to say, public trust and confidence in police and a sense of obligation to defer to police and obey the law. Greater police legitimacy is expected to lead to improved public cooperation with law enforcement, such as in reporting crime and calling the police. PJP entails treating people with respect, allowing them “voice,” and demonstrating that their needs and concerns have been taken into account and that police decisions rest on facts and the law. Police agencies can promote PJP by training officers, deploying body-worn cameras, and enhancing the fairness with which officers are treated by the organization. Empirical evidence on these expectations is mixed and raises a number of issues that preclude causal inferences, calling for a careful assessment of research methods and findings.

Article

Community Policing in Comparative Perspective  

Jacques de Maillard and Jan Terpstra

Community (oriented) policing has become one of the most popular models of policing worldwide. After its initial implementation in many Western countries, community policing has also been transferred to transitional societies, which often lack strong democratic traditions. The international diffusion of community policing should not make us forget that community policing comes in all shapes and sizes and is highly varied in its operations. After having defined the concept and analyzed its rise in Anglo-American countries, this diversity is illustrated by scrutinizing its implementation in different national configurations: a continental European country relatively open to Anglo-American influences (the Netherlands), socially homogeneous countries with a high level of trust in the police (the Nordic countries), a centralized country with an administrative Napoleonic tradition (France), and postconflict societies (South Africa and Northern Ireland). These various national trajectories highlight the common drivers and barriers in community policing reforms: political priorities (through emphasizing crime fighting or zero tolerance policing), socioeconomic disparities and ethnic tensions (which may imply a history of mistrust and vicious circles between the police and some segments of the public), professional identities and interests (disqualifying community police officers as “social workers”), and organizational resources (managerial procedures, lack of training and human resources) that may hinder the reform process. These diverse experiences also draw attention to the variety of context-dependent factors that impact the fate of community policing reforms. Political climates, police–government relations, socioeconomic inequalities, and police traditions may differ, which requires further analysis of the various political, historical, socioeconomic, and cultural contexts of specific community policing reforms.

Article

Cultural Representations of Torture  

Honni van Rijswijk

Scenes of torture are central to the Western imaginary of law, animating questions of power, authority and legitimacy. This examination of key cultural representations of torture provides some historical background on torture in the Western imaginary and focuses on its contemporary significance. A flexible set of analytical and aesthetic approaches to practices of representation are used to assess the changing significance of torture. In particular, three figures are central to the representation of torture—the torturer, the tortured, and the torture chamber. The significance of these elements differs depending on the form and perspective of representation. These elements of representations of torture changed following the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and have complicated the social and legal work done by previous cultural texts and government policies around the effectiveness of torture and the risks of states of exception. Not only do popular films and television series support and justify the use of torture as a legitimate information-gathering tool, but representations of torture have become sites of pleasure and enjoyment. The emergence of new figures and genres in representations of torture suggests that the use of torture in violent or conflict scenes has been of increasing interest to the public and possibly have become increasingly accepted since the rhetoric of the Global War on Terror (GWOT).