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Introduction
This informative course, along with the texts I have read regarding criminal
justice, have been extremely helpful and given me a number of different critical views of
social, personal, and criminal justice in order to understand the ethical issues that relate
to crime control policy, criminal behavior, research, and criminal reformation (Braswell,
Mcarthy, ! Mcarthy, "##$%& 'hether one agrees or disagrees with the theories
presented, there are methods of using this (nowledge in the real world, no matter what
profession or practice one chooses to enter in the future& Thus, I am confident that I will
be just and fair, yet strategic in my career path and how I conduct myself once I have
attained the profession I eventually see(&
Theories
Theories regarding crime and criminal justice abound, with some touting leniency
and understanding and others asserting harsh treatment and punishment& In my
opinion, a happy medium between the two extremes must be met for the criminal justice
system to wor( effectively and efficiently when it comes to crime, punishment, and
possible reform&
I have found the utilitarian theory of criminal justice is a practical approach,
including goals such as crime reduction, increased security, and courteous and
responsive service (Braga ! Moore, "##)%& This approach also states that the right
action to ta(e depends on the *goodness of the outcome,+ therefore it is a doctrine of
morality (,inman, 1--$. as cited in Ban(s, "##), p& "#)%& I believe the utilitarian
approach to criminal justice has noble goals in mind, however, the method for
achievement of such goals at times does not seem realistic or viable& Those with true
"
moral character should be revered, but in reality, I find that more individuals than not,
are lac(ing deep moral fiber& ,uman beings are more li(ely to behave properly if they
are placed under constraints or are (nowledgeable about the punishment they will
receive if they do not respect the limits put upon them& Therefore, it is my assertion that
an ethical or deontological approach to criminal justice is a much more realistic
endeavor and more li(ely to be successful in the type of society we exist in today
(/eyroud ! Bec(ley, "##1%&
The ethical or deontological approach to criminal justice refers to the principled
values pursued by peace officers (Braga ! Moore, "##)%& 0eontological values include
fairness and justice, or things that are considered to be in place for the collective good,
whether or not they produce anything tangible (Braga ! Moore, "##). /eyroud !
Bec(ley, "##1%& Those who support this doctrine reject that of the utilitarian, promoting
the belief that acting morally or ethically re1uires acceptance of constraints that place
limits on the pursuit of interests, even if that pursuit involves the moral good (0avis,
1--1. as cited in Ban(s, "##)%&
2eeping the peace or peacema(ing is what most citi3ens view to be the primary
role of law enforcement (/eyroud ! Bec(ley, "##1%& ,owever, the theories of
peacema(ing entail much more than just arresting criminals and preventing chaos in the
streets& 4eacema(ing within traditional police values is believed by some to be
necessary to promote the true vision of justice& They purport this can only happen when
peace officers reali3e their connectedness with other beings in the world& The three
themes of peacema(ing within the criminal justice realm are5
6
The need for reconciliation and connectedness to each other and the
environment5 7fficers need to be able to relate to each criminal as a fellow citi3en
of the world&
8llowing the primary objective in corrections to be the nurturing and care of each
others5 9aw enforcement officers must view their role as one of caring for each
inmate, participating in inmate rehabilitation&
The cultivation of inner peace, or mindfulness5 7fficers should strive to be the
best at their job that they can be by being mindful of their actions see(ing inner
peace and tran1uility (Bracewell, 1--#. as cited in ,enry ! 9anier, "##), p& 66#%&
In my estimation, these three peacema(ing themes appear to be 1uite benign or
almost *:en;li(e+ and do not ta(e into consideration that extremely violent criminals
exist in this world and do not subscribe to such *peaceful+ ideals& <or peacema(ing to
be effective in reality, more gun control laws need to be implemented, and research
efforts must identify causes and preventions for violent behavior. data collection and
analysis of each offender must be improved. and more rehabilitative programs are
needed for violent offenders (<uller, =ohn >&, 1--$%& My view is that after such realistic
reforms are set in place, then law enforcement officers can begin to see( inner peace,
relate to criminals and nurture and care for others to their hearts content&
I also learned about the framewor( of law enforcement and its relationship to
minority populations& 9una ("##6% points out that minorities are over;represented in
every part of the criminal justice process& This includes minor crimes, searches, arrests,
incarceration and execution (9una, "##6%& Theorists have come up with several ideas
to try and explain this overrepresentation in the criminal process, such as5
)
The criminogenic influence of socio;economic deprivation in blac(
neighborhoods&
The intense policing of open;air drug mar(ets in predominantly minority inner
cities&
8frican 8mericans simply have a uni1ue propensity toward crime (9una, "##6,
p& 1$6%&
,owever, 8frican 8merican communities have done their own studies on the
subject matter and such research has discovered one underlying theme5
overrepresentation is due to racial prejudice by law enforcement (9una, "##6%& The fact
that statistics seem to indicate that more 8frican 8mericans are represented in the
criminal justice system than most, may also be demonstrative of the fact that official
misconduct, the unjustifiable use of force, and methodical harassment by police officers
is a reality and not a myth as many have been led to believe (9una, "##6%& To lessen
this misconduct and injustice, 9una ("##6% indicates that an institutional design must be
implemented to ensure a more democratic police force is in place&
I believe that one of the methods of changing the current institutional practices
may be through behavioral policing& This utili3es the public choice theory that ta(es into
consideration the fact that a police officer may misbehave solely for personal gain, such
as a bribe or searches that lac( probable cause only for the pursuit of contraband and
arrests, believing that such behavior will eventually lead to promotion& 8 new
institutional design will punish officers for such behavior, and increase the probability
that such behavior will be detected through enhanced oversight and surveillance&
?
I also agree with the idea of transparent policing founded on political and moral
philosophy& This theory has several concepts, which re1uire public scrutiny upon
misconduct, along with basic principles that include visibility, justification, voice,
deliberation, and revisability& @isibility ma(es law enforcement available to the
community. justification re1uires a police policy be bac(ed by an announced rationale.
voice is the ability of affected communities to allow their concerns to be aired.
deliberation is concerned with the substance of a debate. and revisability argues that
whatever decision is made by a police and citi3en discussion should be subject to
revision based upon experience (9una, "##6%& Therefore, it should be the main goal of
any institutional design is to decrease law enforcement misconduct through behavioral
and cognitive modifications, increasing the honesty of police officers& 8dditionally, trust
must be increased to allow neighborhoods and communities to participate in the
process of law enforcement decision;ma(ing&
I reali3e that some reforms may appear utopian. however, it is my belief that such
actions may be implemented successfully throughout law enforcement agencies,
including prosecutorAs offices, corrections agencies, and courtroom proceedings&
,ence, there is a need to reexamine the institution of law enforcement and its
relationship with minority communities& The only way to implement changes such as
these is on a grand scale involving law enforcement and the communities they police&
In so doing, the incidence of institutional misconduct will be lessened and effective
police wor( can become the norm rather than an anomaly&
B
4lans to 4ut @alues and Beliefs into 4ractice
'hatever career or practice I plan to pursue in the future, I can use the values
and beliefs I have learned in this course and the texts I have read in my endeavors& I
will do this by attempting to conduct myself in an ethical manner, no matter what
circumstance I find myself in& By doing so, I will ensure that I approach all situations
using the strategic choice to maintain my principles and standards&
onclusion
My coursewor(, research, and reading regarding criminal justice, have all given
me great insight into the world of criminal behavior, police ethics, and crime control&
8lthough the theories presented in the material studied were each informative and
enlightening, I both agreed and disagree with some of the assertions made&
/onetheless, I will ta(e what I have learned and apply the ethical and responsible
concepts to my own life and in my future underta(ings&
C
>eferences
Ban(s, yndi ("##)%& Criminal Justice Ethics: Theory and Practice& Thousand 7a(s,
85 Dage 4ublications, Inc&
Braga, 8nthony 8&, and Moore, Mar( ,& ("##)%& 4olice 4erformance Measurement5 8
/ormative <ramewor(& Criminal Justice Ethics, 23(1%, 6;1#&
Braswell, M&, Mcarthy, B&>&, ! Mcarthy, B&=& ("##$%& =ustice, crime ! ethics&
incinatti, 7,5 8nderson 4ublishing ompany&
<uller, =ohn >& (1--$%& Criminal Justice: A Peacemaking Perspective& Boston5 8llyn and
Bacon&
,enry, Dtuart, and 9anier, Mar( ("##)%& Essential Criminology& 7xford, England5
'estview 4ress&
9una, Eri( ("##6%& >ace, rime and Institutional 0esign& La and Contemporary
Pro!lems, ""(6%, 1$6;1$$&
/eyroud, 4& ! Bec(ley, 8& ("##1%& Policing, ethics and human rights& 0evon, F25 'illan
4ublishing&