Purpose. This paper presents the state of current research concerning how youths perceive justice system actors.
Methodology. A systematic literature review was conducted based on various databases to find relevant articles published since 2010. Of the 148 articles identified from these databases, 32 were included in this review.
Findings. Overall, studies mainly examine young people’s views of police practices, which reflects the predominant weight of relations with the police in youths’ perception of justice. More specifically, this review highlights the important role of procedural justice in relations with police officers in building trust with youth along with a positive perception of police and the justice system. The studies also emphasize the importance of officer’s attitudes during the interaction as important for building legitimacy towards the justice system. While some studies draw similar conclusions with respect to other actors in the justice system (e.g. judges, lawyers), the overwhelming majority of research has focused on police-youth interactions.
Originality. The literature review points to an important gap that future research could fill by better contextualizing the role of the diverse actors in the youth perceptions of the justice system. This would consequently deepen our understanding of how these young people build their perceptions of the justice system as a whole.
Keywords: Youth; justice system; justice actors; police; perceptions