May 21, 2012
Mr. Cyril Vierra
The Juvenile Justice System is a separate world from the criminal justice system. There are laws that protect the youth of today on a level where it is exclusive to only a certain age group. There are considerations that are often brought in to sentencing for the youth that would never be considered for an adult. There are decisions that have to be made on different levels including age, culture, laws based on the juvenile system, policy and most important different situations and how to handle them. There are four ethical realms that involve the criminal justice system. The ethics that will be discussed in this team project concerning the decision made with Brian the Juvenile youth are as follows: the situation based on ethical relativism, ethical egoism, deontological ethics and teleological ethics. There is a very fine line when taking action in today’s juvenile youth system. The laws are different concerning youth; therefore, every ethical situation is different and can be detrimental to the staff and the youth involved. This situation with Brian and Daren can be considered and compared to the ethics that best fit.
Ethical relativism is based on the theory that there are different solutions to every scenario. “Relativist morality is based on the assumption that standards of conduct are neither sacred nor etched in stone—different folks need different strokes” (Souryal, 2007, pg 20). Right and wrong is based on social a norm--such could be the case with situational ethics--which is a category of ethical relativism. At any rate, ethical relativism would mean that our morals have evolved, that they have changed over time and that they are not absolute. The relativism theory is meant to deal with every situation on a case by case basis because every action taken could be right or could be wrong. The juvenile in this particular case study was made to eat on the floor out of a bowl and referred to as a dog. With Daren instructing Brian to do this act, he clearly did not see anything wrong with his actions. Daren even explains to his coworkers later that his actions were to shock Brian into understanding that Brian’s actions were offensive. According to the ethical relativism standpoint, Daren could have taken the correct actions and/or those same actions could have been inappropriate. On one hand, Daren wanted to teach Brian a lesson in hopes that Brian would see his behavior as inappropriate and he felt he had to use extreme measures to teach him that lesson. On the other hand, Daren treated Brian like an animal and degraded him in front of his peers and other detention officers and he physically led Brian to a bowl on the floor where he was told to eat out of that bowl. This, in turn, could be viewed as inappropriate, ethically and morally wrong. Since ethical relativism is directly related to social norms, more information would need to be obtained as to whether or not Daren’s actions were justifiable or not. If an occurrence such as this happened frequently at this specific juvenile justice facility, then Daren’s actions would have been considered just. However, if this is the first time that an employee has acted in such an extreme manner, then Daren’s actions towards Brian are not ethical according to the ethical relativism theory. Ethical Egoism
According to Baier, ethical egoism “claims that promoting one’s own greatest good is always to act in accordance with reason and morality; that is, everyone out to pursue his or her own self-interest exclusively” (Baier, 1991, pg 201). In the situation with the juvenile officer and the youth Brian, there is a fine line on how Darren handled himself. When the youth was carrying on and it was affecting the others, then this is when Darren felt he needed to take action. This is how he justified the...