In 1968, almost 50 years ago, the Supreme Court validated, in a case called (1968), a common police practice known as stop and frisk, so long as an officer could justify the action on the basis of a newly developed standard: reasonable suspicion. Today, policing agencies use stop and frisk prophylactically, stopping in some cities tens or even hundreds of thousands of people annually. These developments and the litigation around the strategy in New York City and elsewhere provide an opportunity to revisit and to consider recent research in law and social science regarding stop and frisk. This review focuses on three issues: the evolution of legal doctrine pertaining to stop and frisk, arguments regarding the effectiveness of stop and frisk as a mechanism to control and reduce crime, and a delineation of the relevance of the theory of procedural justice to our understanding of the interleaving of the law and social science of stop and frisk.


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