Morality, Ethics, and Human Behavior
Ethical issues exist in all areas of criminal justice system (from passage of laws to punishment)
Criminal justice professionals have discretion
Legislators: in making laws
Police: in enforcing laws
Attorneys and Judges: affecting justice process
Correctional Professionals: affecting offenders lives
What do criminal justice professionals have in common?
power to make decisions
duty to enforce the law
obligation to provide “due process” and “equal protection” for all
commitment to “public service”
Goals of the study of ethics
Become aware of and open to ethical issues
Begin developing critical thinking skills
Become more personally responsible
Understand coercive element of the justice system
Develop wholesight (the ability to explore with one’s heart as well as one’s mind)
morals The judgment of behavior as right or wrong.
ethics The study and analysis of what constitutes good or bad conduct.
* The two words are often used interchangeably.
meta-ethics Technical investigation of the meaning of ethical terms, as well as how ethical statements can be verified.
normative ethics Definition of right conduct and moral duties.
applied ethics Application of ethical principles to specific issues or fields.
professional ethics Examination of the behavior of certain professional groups.
duties Moral obligations that one must carry out to be considered ethical.
supererogatory An act that goes beyond duty and is not required to be considered good or moral.
imperfect duties General obligation with no specific acts.
What else are values?
Are some more important than others?
To be judgedmoral or immoral,behavior must involve:
of free will
Inventory of Ethical Issues
Individual or Other Employees
backstabbing and lack of support
sexual or racial harassment
lying to cover up blame
taking credit for others’ work
sexual or racial harassment
Organization and Employees
sexual or racial harassment by supervisors
discouraging honest criticism or feedback
arbitrary or unfair decisions
unrealistic or inappropriate demands
putting employees in unnecessary danger
By the Individual and Organization
work ethic (day’s work for a day’s pay)
petty theft of supplies or cash
gifts and gratuities
misuse of sick days
personal use of supplies or equipment
Morality and Behavior
Even when people know what is right, sometimes they choose to do wrong—why?
Other fields seek to answer this question
Are people fundamentally good or fundamentally bad?
Omar Thornton of Connecticut walked into his employer, Hartford Distributors, for a hearing concerning his possible termination. During the meeting, Thornton pulled out a pistol and shot ten of his coworkers, killing eight, before turning the gun on himself. What caused Thornton to carry out this horrific act?
Was he born intrinsically bad?
Was he a good person that had a tragic turn of circumstances that forced him into a criminal act? Morality = Law ?
Ethical Issues and Dilemmas
Decriminalization of soft drugs?
Mandatory DNA testing?
Steps for ClarifyingEthical Dilemmas
Review all the facts.
Identify relevant values of all parties.
Identify all moral issues.
Identify most immediate moral issue.
Resolve the dilemma.
Determining Moral Behavior
Deontological Ethical Systems
Teleological Ethical Systems
According to German philosopher Immanuel Kant:...
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