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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Essay on Ethics in Policing and Corrections

Essay on Ethics in Policing and Corrections

a) Describe why it is important for criminal justice professionals to study ethics.
b) Explain how applying ethical approaches assists criminal justice professionals in making appropriate and correct decisions. 

Ethics, often referred to as moral philosophy, is a field of philosophy that deals with questions regarding what is right, wrong, good, bad and how individuals should live. Typically people assign right and wrong with their or other people’s behaviors, conduct, or action. It provides us with a way to decide which is which when we are uncertain about the proper thing to do in a situation. Ethics is often used is various industries and fields primarily because it acts as a guide in making difficult decisions especially when dealing with moral issues (Sage 2). 

The criminal justice system as well as law enforcement are just some of the fields that greatly benefits the use of ethics. This is largely because this field, more than any other, deals with the concept of right and wrong on a daily basis. And more often than not, police and other law enforcement officers find themselves caught in scenarios when emotions and other personal values could get in the way of ensuring a proper legal procedure. Furthermore, using instincts and even emotions does not offer a proper solution to a moral dilemma. This is where ethics come in. Ethical consideration allows the police to come up with enlightened judgments which involve due process, discretion and force (Sage 2).

Another importance of ethics in policing, enables an individual to analyze and even question assumptions not commonly raised in areas such as politics and business. It allows the person to raise and take action on important issues such as the relation of justice and crime, authority, role of law enforcement, role of prison as well punishment and its limit. Ethics enable common individuals to question and be active on things that matter instead of blindly accepting whatever that is handed to them (Sage 3).

Studying and practicing ethics is particularly important in law enforcement and policing. This is because it increases the individual’s sense of right and wrong, thus guiding them on how to properly and professionally conduct themselves. Similarly, it enables them to properly carry out their job functions and responsibilities. Likewise, ethics assists law officials in identifying questionable actions such as bribery among many others (Sage 3).

The criminal justice system will also find studying and practicing ethics in their field as it develops the capacity of a criminal justice professional in pointing moral reasoning in times behaviors and actions are being justified. This means that it develops their skills in making ethical decisions. In addition, ethics can help professionals behave and act responsibly and accordingly. It is important to note that this profession involves exercising authority as well as power over other people. In some cases, they are even authorized to use physical coercion and force. Abusing these privileges and power can be very tempting. Ethics however functions as a crucial guide to professionals particularly when they are tasked to carry decisions which involve force and discretion among others (Sage 4).
Ethics is also crucial in management and policy making within the criminal justice system. Being able to discern and exercise moral judgement allows professionals to come up with decisions regarding punishments. It allows them to properly weigh choices such as whether to imprison or rehabilitate a person. Similarly, ethics allows the individual to trust his or her decision as it has the knowledge that it was done not only for the greater good but also with the consideration of the offender’s best interest (Sage 4).

Works Cited

The Importance of Ethics in Criminal Justice. 30 January 2004. Sage Publications. 19 January
2013 <>

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