Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 281–287 | Cite as

What Influences Perceptions of Procedural Justice Among People with Mental Illness Regarding their Interactions with the Police?

  • James D. Livingston
  • Sarah L. Desmarais
  • Caroline Greaves
  • Richard Parent
  • Simon Verdun-Jones
  • Johann Brink
Brief Report


According to procedural justice theory, a central factor shaping perceptions about authority figures and dispute resolution processes is whether an individual believes they were treated justly and fairly during personal encounters with agents of authority. This paper describes findings from a community-based participatory research study examining perceptions of procedural justice among sixty people with mental illness regarding their interactions with police. The degree to which these perceptions were associated with selected individual (e.g., socio-demographic characteristics), contextual (e.g., neighborhood, past experiences), and interactional (e.g., actions of the officer) factors was explored. The results of regression analyses indicate that the behavior of police officers during the interactions appears to be the key to whether or not these interactions are perceived by people with mental illness as being procedurally just. Implications of these findings for improving interactions between the police and people with mental illness are discussed.


Police interactions Perceived procedural justice Mental illness 



Financial support for this study was provided by the Mental Health Commission of Canada and BC Mental Health & Addiction Services.

Conflict of Interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • James D. Livingston
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Sarah L. Desmarais
    • 4
  • Caroline Greaves
    • 1
  • Richard Parent
    • 2
  • Simon Verdun-Jones
    • 2
  • Johann Brink
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Forensic Psychiatric Services CommissionBC Mental Health & Addiction ServicesBritish ColumbiaCanada
  2. 2.School of CriminologySimon Fraser UniversityBritish ColumbiaCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of British ColumbiaBritish ColumbiaCanada
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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