Incorporating Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development into the Justice System

Topics: Ethics, Criminal justice, Morality Pages: 9 (1656 words) Published: December 4, 2014


Assignment 2: Incorporating Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development into the Justice System By Melissa Carroll
11/13/14
CRJ220
Prof. Ackerman

The second aspect implies that there is no reason why one should be punished unless it is proven beyond reasonable doubt that they were perpetrators of crime. Criminal justice on the other hand refers to the efforts of the authorities to prevent crime and punish crime when it occurs. The criminal justice system is reliant on the concept of justice as it enables the concerned authorities to reach their mandate without abuse of the system or of other people. With reference to interpersonal adjudication, the judicial officers are expected to accord both the suspects and victims proper and professional treatment when attempting to solve the crime. The officers of the law as well as the judicial officers should be in a position to describe the crimes committed in accordance to the standard definitions of those crimes. The legal processes should be followed at all times while investigating the crime especially in relation to the suspects. The stages are: Obedience and punishment orientation, self-interest orientation, interpersonal accord and conformity, authority and social order maintaining orientation, social contract orientation as well as the universal ethical principles.

Justice is referred to as the cornerstone of all civilizations and is usually grounded in equality and fairness of all entities (Hadit, 2001). The concept of justice is said to be composed of three aspects. These are: interpersonal adjudication, a law based on standards of fault and focus on legal processes (Shaffer, 2004). The interpersonal adjudication aspect refers to the responsibility of every individual in the resolution of disputes irrespective of whether they are the cause of the dispute or whether they are the aggrieved parties. The second aspect implies that there is no reason why one should be punished unless it is proven beyond reasonable doubt that they were perpetrators of crime. The third aspect focuses on the delivery of justice which should be done after one has undergone the due process of the law. Criminal justice on the other hand refers to the efforts of the authorities to prevent crime and punish crime when it occurs. The criminal justice system is reliant on the concept of justice as it enables the concerned authorities to reach their mandate without abuse of the system or of other people. With reference to interpersonal adjudication, the judicial officers are expected to accord both the suspects and victims proper and professional treatment when attempting to solve the crime (Hadit, 2001). The officers of the law as well as the judicial officers should be in a position to describe the crimes committed in accordance to the standard definitions of those crimes. The legal processes should be followed at all times while investigating the crime especially in relation to the suspects (Shaffer, 2004). They should be allowed to have a lawyer present during interrogations and should not be abused physically, verbally, emotionally or in any other way by the officers processing them (Shaffer, 2004). The Kohlberg’s stages of moral development consists of six levels through which an individual undergoes in the process of learning how to make ethically acceptable and competent choices within society. The higher the level of development at which an individual is at, the more advanced the decisions that he or she can make (Hadit, 2001). The stages are: Obedience and punishment orientation, self-interest orientation, interpersonal accord and conformity, authority and social order maintaining orientation, social contract orientation as well as the universal ethical principles. Based on the characteristic of these stages, criminals may be evaluated for their moral development. Juvenile delinquencies are usually teenagers whose moral development has been impaired at the...

References: Hadit, James. (2001). The emotional dog and its rational tail: a social intuitionist approach to moral judgment. Psychological Review. Vol. 108, Pp 814-834
Shaffer, David. (2004). Social and Personality development. New York: Wadsworth Publishing
Woolfolk, Anita. (2012). Educational Psychology. New Jersey: Prentice hall
Fuller, J. R. (2005). Criminal Justice: Mainstream and Crosscurrents. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Garland, D. (2002). Of Crimes and Criminals. In Maguire, Mike, Rod Morgan, Robert Reiner. The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, 3rd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hinman, L. (1998). Ethics: A Pluralistic Approach to Moral Theory.  Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace.
Holmes, R. (1998). Basic Moral Philosophy (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
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