Ethics - The Justice Academy

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Transcript Ethics - The Justice Academy

 was “Ethics, in philosophy, the study
and evaluation of human conduct in the light of
moral principles. Moral principles may be viewed
either as the standard of conduct that individuals
have constructed for themselves or as the body of
obligations and duties that a particular society
requires of its members”.
Peak states simply that ethics is “doing what is
right or correct and [the term] is generally used to
refer to how people should behave in a
professional capacity”.
Absolute ethics- which basically states that
something is either good or bad, or black and
Relative ethics- is what one person considers
ethical another may not.
It is true that not all cases are clear cut, and
in some communities do seem willing at
times to tolerate extra-legal behavior if a
greater public good is served.
Noble-cause corruption- define this type of
behavior as “Corruption committed in the
name of good ends, corruption that
happens when police officers care to much
about their work. It is corruption committed
in order to get the bad guys off the streets,
to protect the innocent and children from
predators that inflict pain and suffering on
them. It is the corruption of police power,
when officers do bad things because they
believe that the outcomes will be good” (p.
In many cases no clear line separates
acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
While it is ok to lie to a suspect who is the
target of a criminal investigation, is it
ethical to do so?
Does it end there, are does the unethical
behavior get to the point where it is almost
automatic. Does this in turn lead to other
unethical behaviors by the individual?
This is the type of lying where an officer
may lie to get a warrant, or they may
conceal certain facts in regards to an
investigation to get charges filed on an
Can become second nature, and as new
officers come up through the ranks and are
trained by these unethical officers the cycle
tends to start all over again with the new
officer unless they are already highly ethical
already and refuse to be a part of such
unethical behavior.
The acceptance of gratuities by officers
(free meals, free drinks) also can lead to
more serious unethical behaviors later down
the road.
There are two basic arguments against
police acceptance of gratuities. First is the
slippery slope argument.
In addition, officers who accept minor gifts
or gratuities are then obligated to provide
the donors with some special service or
While I disagree that a person can be
trained to be ethical, I think it has to
already be a part of their inner being or
personality, I do think that it is not a bad
idea to reinforce the expectations of the
department via training in ethical matters.
The organization needs to articulate its
values and attempt to shape the standards
of professional behavior within their
Ideally, our judges are flawless. They do not
allow emotion or personal biases to creep into
their work, treat all cases and individual litigants
with an even hand, and employ “justice tempered
with mercy.”
Many judges recoil at the need for a code of
judicial conduct or an independent commission
to investigate complaints.
Living by the code is challenging; the key to
judicial ethics is to identify the troublesome
issues and to sharpen one’s sensitivity to them,
that is, to create an “ethical alarm system” that
Defense attorneys - also must be legally and
morally bound to ethical principles as agents
of the court.
Prosecuting attorneys- contrary to popular
belief the primary duty of a prosecutor is not
that or she should win a case, but that justice
shall be done.
Other court employees- primarily known as
confidential employees these individuals have
a special role in the court system and work
closely with a judge or judges.
Many correctional officers find themselves facing
the same types of ethical dilemmas as police
officer do.
There are without a doubt powerful forces in
operation within the prison that shapes the
behavior of the correctional officer than just the
administrator, legislative decrees, or agency
Correction officers threatened by the work group to
keep the knowledge of an unethical act to
themselves and not to report it to supervision.
What the administrator needs to understand is that
the group has both power and loyalty features for
the correctional officers; it is a part of the
subculture of corrections.
Test of common sense- does the act make
sense or would someone look askance at
Test of publicity- would you be willing to
see what you did highlighted on the front
page of the local newspaper?
Test of one’s best self- will the act fit the
concept of one’s self at one’s best?
Test of one’s most admired personalitywhat would one’s parents or minister do in
this situation?
Test of hurting someone else- will it cause
pain for someone?
Test of foresight- what is the long term
likely result?