Perceptions of Incarcerated Youth About Police Violence and Legitimacy in Trinidad and Tobago

Nikolaos Stamatakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This study was focused on the youth’s perceptions in Trinidad and Tobago, a developing Caribbean nation. It describes their personal experiences with and perceptions of police misbehavior or excessive use of force on juveniles and young adults held in the two reformatory institutions, as well as in the country’s only juvenile facility. The main objective of the present empirical research was to explore the diachronic conceptual relationship between violence and the levels of police legitimacy as perceived or experienced by the youth from 13 to 23 years old. Short questionnaires were used to capture the youth’s opinions on institutional violence, a distinct and long-lasting phenomenon in the region. Multivariate analyses of the quantitative data also examined the role of trust as an influencing factor for police legitimacy (and legitimation), being previously evaluated in terms of efficiency and equality. Although most of the research participants had a bad impression about the police, overall, whether the police operations were efficient or their procedures fair had no impact or influence on the particular sample’s levels of trust and general perceptions of the TTPS. Finally, recommendations on changes in the police’s administrative procedures were made along with a shift in organizational culture, and the promotion of community policing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-329
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 15 2019


  • Incarceration
  • Legitimacy
  • Police violence
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Law


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