Ethics and Criminal Justice
Ethics is based on an individual’s ability to decide on what is good or bad or right or wrong. By definition, ethics refers to moral values or principles distinctive or governing a given group or culture (Souryal, 2014). It is a subdivision of philosophy that attempts to provide answers to write and wrong questions and how people should live in society, a structure of ethical principles. Generally, a person’s morality is defined by their new social behaviors. Professionals in the criminal justice system hold different positions of authority and powers over others. In some instances, as correctional officers or police, they are authorized to apply threats such as corporal strength against the people (Souryal, 2014). The field of criminal justice is vast, with various professionals in the field having different roles to perform at different levels and positions.
Nevertheless, there are standard rules which apply to all professionals in this field, one being overseeing safety. This entails the promotion of good relations in the community, enforcing regulations and laws, protection of property and people, responding to an emergency, and maintaining order. On the other hand, there are several ethical issues facing professionals in the ethical justice system, and various theories have been put forward to explain these ethical issues. The focus of this essay is to discuss the theory and ethical issues confronting professionals who work as police officers, attorneys, and correctional officers.
Ethical theory in Criminal Justice
Criminal Justice is founded on ethics. Ethics helps professionals in the criminal justice system in developing moral interpretation applied in the definition of criminal activities and what is perceived by the society as the applicable form of punishment (Banks, 2018). Ethical standards offer the guiding principles on how correctional officers, police officers, and attorneys should behave. According to Souryal (2011), the meaning of the word law would be little without ethics because its use would be untrustworthy. Ethics governs how police officers, attorneys, and correctional officers influence the decision-making process and their interaction with lawbreakers. The ethical theories applied in criminal Justice are ethical stoicism, hedonism, and egoism.
Ethical Egoism theory
Banks (2018) postulates that egoism is a self-seeking behavior that you may show towards people around you. Nearly all egoistic individuals do not show sympathy for other people’s challenges. Usually, egoists put their interests past and exceptionally ahead of every other person’s actions. Besides forming superficial behaviors, egoism has the potential to tear down a person with explicit self-interest. From the news headlines, greediness and big egos have infiltrated to areas where they should not be; the criminal justice system. Some criminal justice professionals may develop attitudes of dishonesty and self-motives. It illustrates why individuals are usually handled differently from others depicting that there are some elements of self-interest in the system. Ethical egoism refers to the impression that people can act out of personal interest. Through ethical egoism, many people can attain great heights of satisfaction. Banks (2018) defines egoism as the allegations from an ethical system that reputable results emanate from seeking selfishness. The primary foundation of egoistic thought helping other people with the hope that the individual will payback for the services.
Through the lens of egoism, a brave act of a police officer may be perceived differently. For instance, Vancouver police officers engaged in shooting in Yale town on June 10, 2014. A gunfight resulted, and the suspect made away on a bicycle. One of the detectives followed the suspect as he peddled away, and in reaction, the suspect shot at the detective but did not hit her. The detective continued the pursuit until reinforcement arrived, and the suspect was gunned down in the gunfight. Considering the above case, the majority would argue that the detective intended to apprehend the suspect and that she had no other intentions in her actions before the suspect was gunned down. In as much as this makes sense, it could also be argued that the detective’s actions were founded on self-interest as apprehending the victim would satisfy her interests, of being respected by her department and that she would receive media attention. The view of her actions from this perspective is cynical, but it is vital in understanding why some individuals behave in a manner that exposes them to danger.
However, it is important to note that egoism doesn’t hold up acts of self-centredness among social justice officers; definitely, this would not be condoned for law enforcement officers (Fobbs, 2011). The theory offers an explanation of the misbehaviors among police, attorneys, and correctional officers. Law enforcement officers who misuse the trust and authority bestowed by the people are in the egoistic state. In this sense, they act on personal interest and not the interest of the people and the agency they serve. This results in poor behaviors among law enforcement professionals as they seek to satisfy their ego. There are correctional officers, attorneys, and police officers in criminal justice professionals who are filled with self-righteousness and unethical behaviors. These law enforcement officers often aim at attaining self-satisfaction by acting out of self-regard (Fobbs, 2011). As such, ethical egoism theories majorly apply to correctional officers, attorneys, and police officers who resolve to use unethical and conceit ways in their practice. The most outstanding ethical issues that portray egoism in professionals who work as police, attorneys, and correctional officers include violating the procedures of law enforcement, entrapment, violation of the rights to privacy, and the use of excessive force.