Implementing Community Policing and Procedural Justice in Jail Settings: Developing a Toolkit of Promising Practices and Evidence-Based Innovation

Project Purpose/Goal

Much has been written on community policing and on procedural justice; however, there is little available on the applications of these concepts in jails. Jails are definitely communities, and the growing emphasis on jail re-entry and transition to society could benefit from the application of a community oriented policing approach. The need for respect and legitimacy is paramount in jail settings, especially for the safety of officers and inmates. Some sheriffs’ departments have implemented similar philosophies, approaches, and components of community policing that have been successful in their communities within their jails, but there remains an absence of practice-based tools to aid others in replicating these efforts. As such, the goal of this effort is to identify existing community policing and/or procedural justice type approaches being successfully implemented in jails, and to provide a host of resources for jail leaders to adapt community policing philosophy and approaches to the successful management of jails.

Approach, Results and Implications

The Police Foundation is working with the National Sheriffs Association (NSA) to conduct focus groups with sheriffs and other jail personnel, develop and implement an NSA members’ survey to identify unique programs, develop case studies and develop both a research brief and strategy brief on the implementation of such programs and their effectiveness as defined by the agencies, as well as other resources and tools to support the implementation of community policing and procedural justice in jail settings.  The effort is expected to last approximately two years.

Funding & Collaboration

This was funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, under its Community Policing Development Grant program awarded to the National Police Foundation in September 2018.

Point of Contact:

Karen L. Amendola, PhD
Chief Behavioral Scientist
National Police Foundation


Community policing in jails, procedural justice in jails, jail management, toolkits for jails, toolkits for sheriff’s departments