Ethics and Confidentiality in Criminal Justice
Two of the most important terms in the criminal justice system which not only protect the rights of the accused, but also of the system which is judging them, are the terms ethics and confidentiality. Ethics is the study of morality and what constitutes good behaviour. Confidentiality is the insurance that certain sensitive information is only shared with those individuals who have the authority to access it.
The use of both of these terms not only exists within a court of law. They also play a major role outside of the courtroom in the case of judges, lawyers, jury members, police officers, court counsellors, etc. The main purpose of them being to protect information, at the individual level, it affords people the right to privacy and not to incriminate themselves. It provides them the right to share the amount of information they wish to divulge, to whomever they wish. “If they share it with doctors, lawyers, ministers, they are of course bound by their confidentiality to keep such information secret, whether it incriminates the individual or not” (Good Samaritans, 2009). Privacy is not only a constitutional right, but also, a moral one as well afforded to nearly all citizens.
Perhaps the greatest example of this confidentially agreement between an individual and a health, law or religious representative is one of attorney client privilege or even doctor patient confidentiality. This form of relationship is essential between a client and his attorney or his doctor since it creates an atmosphere of trust between them where the client can reveal information without fear of incrimination. The importance of this in the case of lawyers is of course to prepare the best defence for their client. The main purpose of this is of course to ensure that the professional and the individual have a more singular goal rather than two separate ones. However, it must be said that unlike the profession of law, the...
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