Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Mullins, Christopher


This research study used negative binomial regression to examine the individual and interactive effects of deterrence and procedural justice on frequency of offending counts among serious juvenile offenders. To test the research question, this study utilized the Pathways to Desistance study to test the efficacy of the integration of deterrence theory and procedural justice theory. Deterrence theory is grounded in the classical school of criminology and its rational choice perspective. It argues that individuals will weigh the costs and benefits associated with a criminal act and choose to act in such a manner that will maximize benefits and minimize costs (Cullen & Jonson, 2012). A growing body of research suggests that fairness (i.e., procedural justice) process within the criminal justice process can be effective in the fight against crime, disorder, and recidivism. Procedural justice, sometimes referred to as procedural fairness, refers to perceived fairness within the criminal justice process, even when outcomes are not viewed as favorable (Gold & Bradley, 2013). It accomplishes this by fostering a “buy-in” to laws and directives that enhances cooperation and consent.Because laws are only as good as our ability to enforce them, substituting procedural justice for deterrence would essentially remove the teeth from such laws. However, that does not preclude the development of a theoretical integration of the two. Specifically, such an integration might be more effective in reducing crime and disorder than each would be able to achieve on its own. To test the research question, this study integrated the theories of deterrence and procedural justice and examined whether the additive interaction of procedural justice and deterrence predicted decreased offending counts to a greater extent than what was obtained separately.Study results indicated that overall, deterrence, procedural justice, and their interaction all predicted decreases in offending. That said, overall findings suggested their interaction more consistently supported decreases in offending. That said, study findings also suggested that deterrence was driving the predictions of decreased frequency of offending counts with procedural justice playing a supportive role. Thus, the recommendation is that procedural justice should be integrated into the current deterrence framework. This can be accomplished through training criminal justice actors in the nuances of procedural justice that can be incorporated into their interactions with citizens to foster immediate acceptance and long-term compliance.




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