Ethics for Criminal Justice Professionals

Ethics for Criminal Justice Professionals

Ethics for Criminal Justice Professionals

Ethics for Criminal Justice Professionals


Increasing concerns about the accountability of criminal justice professionals at all levels has placed a heightened focus on the behavior of those who work in the system. Judges, attorneys, police, and prison employees are all under increased scrutiny from the public and the media. Ethics for Criminal Justice Professionals examines the myriad of ethical issues that confront law enforcement, judicial system, and correctional personnel. Easy to read, practical, and filled with real-life scenarios, this comprehensive volume sheds light on an often complicated and controversial topic. The book begins by defining the subject matter, explaining what ethics is, and what it is not. It explores the concept of false moral identity, examines difficult decisions that arise from attorney-client privilege, and discusses problematic issues such as officer gratuities. Next, the book provides a historical review of the concept of ethical reasoning, examining different religious and cultural influences and exploring ethics from various schools of philosophy.Ethics and police officers The authors discuss management and corruption, the causes and effects of abuse of authority, police perjury, and the practice of lying to obtain a confession. They explore the role of prejudice and discrimination in unethical behavior and review legislation designed to curb such practices. Ethics in the courtroom Shifting to issues that arise in the courtroom, the book addresses prosecutorial and judicial misconduct, discovery violations, the presentation of inadmissible evidence, discretion to prosecute, and defense counsel ethics. Ethics in the prison system Finally, the book explores issues that arise with respect to correction. The authors examine the four purposes of punishment: retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation, as well as the death penalty and methods of execution. Each chapter ends with a set of review questions to test comprehension and a series of exercises further clarifies the material. Interspersed with the content are real-life vignettes that help to ground the theoretical concepts in practice and actual court cases that illustrate the principles.Ample references are provided to inspire further study of issues for which often there are no easy answers.


The text Ethics for Criminal Justice Professionals is designed for ethics-related classes in criminal justice and for the professional in the field who desires to increase his or her knowledge in this critical area. The text is intended to be a reader-friendly introduction to the practical study of ethics. It is also designed to provide students with a vehicle to promote critical thinking and engaging discourse on ethics.

Ethics in criminal justice is a subject that has gained prominence in the past two decades with the increasing concerns about the accountability of criminal justice professionals, from the police chief to the officer on the beat, from the warden to the correction officer on the ward, and from the judge to the court clerks. Each of these professionals is currently under examination by the public.

The approach is to examine each aspect and each element within the criminal justice system with the goal of encouraging critical examinations of the various decisions that criminal justice professionals are required to make and stand accountable for in the performance of their public duties.

In the study of ethics, we are reminded of an excerpt from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland:

“Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?”asked the White Rabbit.
“Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to
the end: then stop.”

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