Ethics Notes Chapters 1 and 2

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 -Braswell

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) Defining Terms 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. ormative 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. Honesty Health Family Financial success Beauty What else are values? Are some more important than others?

To be judgedmoral or immoral,behavior must involve: human acts of free will affecting others. Inventory of Ethical Issues Individual or Other Employees backstabbing and lack of support gossip 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 inadequate compensation inadequate training 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 overtime abuse gifts and gratuities falsifying reports 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? Criminology Psychology Other fields seek to answer this question Are people fundamentally good or fundamentally bad? Thinking Point 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? Sex-offender registries? Death penalty? Mandatory DNA testing? Three-strikes legislation? Racial profiling? 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. CHAPTER 2: Determining Moral Behavior Ethical Systems Deontological Ethical Systems Teleological Ethical Systems Ethical Formalism According to German philosopher Immanuel Kant: Good will (motivation) is the only thing that is intrinsically good. Duty is required behavior. It is self-imposed and necessary to morality. The Categorical Imperative Ethical Formalism: Imperatives Categorical imperatives Are absolute. Are based on good will. Determine morality.

You must not lie. Criticisms of Ethical Formalism Utilitarianism Jeremy Bentham An action’s morality depends on how much it contributes to the overall good of society. Humans are hedonistic. They seek to maximize pleasure and avoid pain. ood for the greatest number Thinking Point On April 20th, 2010 a British Petroleum offshore rig exploded killing 11 employees and causing one of the largest oil spills in modern history. Investigators soon located the faulty alarm systems. The alarms did not alert because they had been intentionally disconnected close to a year ago.

BP had the alarms turned off in order to allow employees to sleep without being interrupted by false alarms thus creating a better functioning workforce. If the alarms were enabled, the rig would have automatically entered shut down mode, virtually eliminating the oil spill. Was BP’s original “act” inherently good? Bad? Did they have a duty to act one way or the other? Criticisms of Utilitarianism Religion People hold different opinions about which religion is the “true” religion. People within a religion often disagree on how to interpret its principles.

Religious controversies are often difficult to resolve. Natural Law Criticisms of Natural Law How can we determine what is natural law versus man-made law? What are the “natural” laws of morality? The Ethics of Virtue Aristotle True virtue is the median between extremes of character: the golden mean. People develop moral virtues through practice, just like any other strength. Eudaimonia: living the “good life” Six Pillars (Josephson Institute) Trustworthiness : Honesty, sincerity, loyalty Respect : Golden Rule Responsibility : Being accountable Fairness : Equality, impartiality, and due process

Caring : Altruism and benevolence Citizenship : Duties of citizenship Criticisms of Ethics of Virtue Basically assumes a good person will make a good decision. Little help for people facing dilemmas. The Ethics of Care Western ethical systems focus on issues like rights, laws, and universalism. Ethics of care—nurturance, meeting needs Criticisms of Ethics of Care The Ethics of Virtue Criticisms of Egoism Violates universalism. Logically inconsistent (for everyone to try and maximize self interest). Enlightened egoism is not too different from categorical imperative or golden rule.

Other Methods ofEthical Decision Making The imperative principle directs a decision maker to act according to a specific, unbending rule. The utilitarian principle determines the ethics of conduct by the good or bad consequences of the action. The generalization principle is based on this question: “What would happen if all similar persons acted this way under similar circumstances? ” General Principles ofDecision Making Obtain all facts (including the effects of prospective decisions). Evaluate whether you’d be comfortable with your decision appearing on the front page (in public view).

Consider one’s principles to be like a formula – applicable in all situations. Relativism Ethical Relativism Moral systems are products of an individual or group. If people believe different things are good and bad, how can you define what is good? Situational Ethics: A compromise between relativism and absolutism There are basic principles of right and wrong. They can be applied to ethical dilemmas and moral issues. They may call for different results in different situations. 1. Treat each person with the utmost respect and care. 2.

Do one’s duty or duties in such a way that one does not violate the first principle. Summary of Ethical Systems Ethical formalism: What is good is that which conforms to the categorical imperative. Utilitarianism: What is good is that which results in the greatest utility for the greatest number. Religion: What is good is that which conforms to God’s will. Natural law: What is good is that which is natural. Ethics of virtue: What is good is that which conforms to the Golden Mean. Ethics of care: What is good is that which meets the needs of those concerned. Egoism: What is good is that which benefits me.

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