What are some ethical considerations in criminal justice?

A related issue is that of reporting alleged crimes. A functioning criminal justice system depends on ordinary citizens reporting crimes or alleged criminal activities. Citizens have an ethical obligation to report crimes, even if the crime does not directly affect them. For example, a person may call the police after hearing screams coming from the apartment next door.

Citizens also have an ethical duty to avoid making false reports based on preconceived prejudices. Criminal justice research often requires respondents to disclose information related to criminal and subversive activities, some of which may remain unknown to authorities. When the public believes that those who enforce the law are not doing so fairly or ethically, cooperation between law enforcement and the public begins to erode. There are common actions that violate the Code of Ethics; they can also violate police policy and the law.

However, Rhineberger (200) concluded that discussions about research ethics were practically absent in introductory textbooks on criminal justice. The Law Enforcement Code of Ethics was adopted in 1957 and is the “preface” to the mission and commitment that law enforcement agencies assume to the public they serve. However, in the world of criminal justice, civic participation is often minimized or completely forgotten. The use of human subjects has become common in criminal justice research, which presents myriad ethical concerns regarding the civil rights of vulnerable parties.

However, social agencies have historically ignored informed consent requirements in experiments involving the use of prisoners and other “undesirables” that criminal justice scholars routinely study. Law enforcement officials must strive to continuously behave in a manner that conforms to the ethical standards of their profession. To take a closer look at the role of ethics in criminal justice, it is necessary to understand exactly what ethics means. Ethics is at the heart of a functioning society and its institutions, including its criminal justice system.

Jurors have an ethical obligation to pay close attention to the case, understand the law, and vote on the verdict in a way that is aligned with the interpretation of the law. An online master's degree in justice studies from Campbellsville University can help you understand the legal and ethical concerns surrounding criminal justice and law enforcement. Specifically, it analyzes the ethical issues inherent in informed consent and the requirements of confidentiality when it comes to research in the field of criminal justice. While the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics is clear and unambiguous, police must often make decisions on the spot in situations that are ambiguous.

Luis Mersinger
Luis Mersinger

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