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Ethical Concerns In Criminal Justice


In a position affecting moral issues, ethics gives way to render moral judgments that must be reasonable to satisfy any sensible human being when confronted with uncertainties. Ethics is a moral philosophy that refers to how one ought to live, a benchmark of conduct, the analysis of what is good or bad.

There is an ethical crisis when there is a struggle at the personal, interpersonal, institutional or societal sphere. Although intuitive thinking is commonly used when confronted with ethical dilemmas, it is not enough. It requires critical thinking that utilizes ideologies established by philosophy and moral concepts in the process of thinking moral decisions instead of mere intuitions.

Ethics is a core of professionalism and every area of scientific discipline involves ethical considerations including the criminal justice system. Criminal justice is a system that comprises government institutions and practices that are charged to maintain social control, to prevent and lessen crime and to sanction law offenders with rehabilitation endeavors and penalties.

Ethics training assists to develop analytical skills and reasoning aptitudes needed to understand the practical as well as the theoretical aspects of the criminal justice. A comprehension of ethics is important to the competent evaluation of moral choices for the criminal justice system to function properly. Its components are the legislative body that creates law, law enforcements or the police force, adjudication or the courts or the prosecutors, attorney and judges and corrections that concerns prisons, probation and parole. A good grasp of ethics is necessary for the decision making of criminal justice professionals because they exert power and authority over others. They must be aware of the ethical standards in doing their duties because they are vital in discerning discretion, force or due process.

The ethical issues that afflicts criminal justice nowadays includes racial profiling, youth confinement, war on drugs, increased surveillance of citizens in society, policies implemented in the war on terrorism, human rights violations among prisoners, capital punishment, mandatory treatment and others. In addition there is also the planting of evidence as a way to get a known criminal off the streets, falsifying testimony, bribery and deceptive tactics in criminal investigation. Not to mention the brutality, corruption and off-duty behavior to some of the criminal justice personnel that the media and the society are always watchful.

Those in the authorities might be tempted to take advantage of their powers or to go beyond their boundaries. Sometimes, their actions and behaviors can be legal while at the same time unscrupulous. And if these unethical behaviors are tolerated then how can they serve justice to the society.

Criminal justice system is successful when it performs in an ethical conduct. It fosters moral reasoning, controls interactions with lawbreakers and impacts the decision making process. Without ethics, the law has insignificant importance because its general application aligns with it.