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Ethical Issues in the Criminal Justice System


Criminal justice practitioners and organizations face various ethical issues in the contemporary world. Police officers experience challenges when dealing with violent criminals. For instance, offenders have attacked authorities during policing activities. Excessive force is one of the ethical issues in the modern world that can be analyzed when focusing on criminal justice ethics. Decisions based on bias and hostility toward a group are also some ethical issues in the justice system. Interviews and other sources can be used to analyze how criminal justice institutions and specialists encounter various ethical issues in the contemporary world.

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Summary of the Interview Involving a Police Officer and the Judge

Both interviews provided adequate information that revealed that ethics is a vital aspect of the criminal justice system. Decisions based on a bias are another issue in the contemporary world that has been curbed by policies that focus on policing ethics (Wood et al., 2019). The judge also stated that law enforcement is crucial since it helps in limiting crime activities. However, some principles should be observed when dealing with offenders (Wood et al., 2019). Additionally, both interviewees stated that police are more ethical today than ten years ago since governments have focused on increased police training.

Training offered in the police academy was also discussed during the interview. The responses showed that the government has ensured that the officers acquire adequate skills. For instance, hostility toward a group is a major contemporary issue in the current world that has led to demonstrations in various cities (Von-Essen, & Hansen, 2018). The recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the United States were linked to racism, which is an example of hostility towards a particular group. Additionally, the incident was associated with excessive force, a major ethical issue in law enforcement. Hence, the judge and the police officer insisted that there is enough training in ethics at the police academy level. However, more practices should be exercised to limit such ethical issues in policing.

The participants analyzed the reasons why police officers become involved in misconduct. One of the significant reasons presented is that people have different characteristics, such as attitudes, whereby some officers may have a negative attitude towards some people or cultures (Wood et al., 2019). Thus, the solution discussed to curb these issues is that ethics training should be an ongoing process for law enforcement officers since the world is changing.

Additionally, the interviews argued that police corruption is an issue that should be eradicated by all means. Thus, education and ethics training would primarily reduce police misconduct since more authorities will learn about their dangers.

The contemporary issues that both parties encounter were also presented. The major ones discussed were excessive use of force, respect for the badge and the office, taking responsibility, and biased decisions based. For instance, the officer and the judge argued that respect for the badge is an ethical issue in the contemporary world. They claimed that every action criminal justice professionals take to pursue their duty reflects upon that symbol and upon the department that they serve (Blumberg et al., 2020). Consequently, every individual should respect the badge and avoid misconduct.

Taking responsibility is another ethical issue in the contemporary world that many officers encounter. In this case, the authority and the judge revealed that criminal justice authorities are solely responsible for maintaining their professional conduct standards. Thus, this may be hard for them when dealing with violent criminals and some complex cases. Bias decisions are another ethical issue in the contemporary world discussed by the interviewees. They argued that criminal justice workers must uphold the law, allowing personal beliefs, whether political or religious. Therefore, their judgment should be impartial and according to the laws and regulations irrespective of an individual’s religion, color, political status, or even occupation.

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Ethical Issues and Practical Law Enforcement Ideologies

The interviews have revealed that the various ethical issues influence how people exercise their duties. For instance, the police officer stated that the use of force is one factor that impacts how they perform their responsibilities. Judges are also encouraged to avoid making partial decisions. However, various individuals resist some of the actions meant to avoid misconduct in society, limiting police networks and jury performance (Wood et al., 2019). For instance, many groups have demonstrated after courts have charged and imprisoned convicts. Therefore, ethical career inputs should be observed since they play a significant role in ensuring that human rights are not violated during law enforcement activities.

Competency is another aspect that can be analyzed when focusing on ethical issues in criminal justice. In this case, individuals should have the capability to apply the knowledge acquired during training to limit transgression during law enforcement activities. Criminal justice practitioners should also ensure that they can perform different activities in various settings without violating the laws (Blumberg et al., 2020). For instance, authorities can ensure that they can maintain law and order in different communities without bias.

The value of ethics and character to law enforcement professionals should be considered by individuals when analyzing the criminal justice structure since they impact how the public views the system. One officer can impact the relationship between the authorities and the civilians (Blumberg et al., 2020). Thus, the value of morals helps maintain police trust and ensures that the public is willing to cooperate with the police. Furthermore, ethics have also been defined as the foundation of criminal justice stem.

Many individuals have analyzed the value of ethical integrity to today’s law enforcement applicants, and an officer’s values set a decade ago to learn about the changes involved. One of the changes involves the people’s illiteracy level, which has led to many people learning about the importance of ethics in the criminal justice system. Police training has also been improved in the modern world compared to a decade ago to guarantee that authorities learn about ethical values. Thus, one can argue that there have been improvements in the contemporary world’s criminal justice system than ten years ago.

The mastery of ethical considerations has been encouraged in the criminal justice system to ensure that law enforcement professionals do not engage in misconduct. For instance, judges are educated about the consequences of violating laws since they can lose their job and face charges. The interview also shows that magistrates are primarily encouraged to focus on ethics in their activities. For instance, the interviewee stated that they should focus on human rights and avoid violating them.

Societal paradigm shifts, such as improved technology, have also led to improved policing activities. One of the exercises that have been introduced is the use of body cameras to minimize misconduct, such as corruption in policing (Albanese et al., 2019). Education has also been improved in the modern world to help officers maintain law and order with ease. Mastery and competency of the skills have been improved in modern police training since they involve detailed procedures to ensure that officers acquire adequate information about police ethics

An ethical dilemma only occurs when two or more ethical standards apply to a situation but are in conflict with each other. Police officers encounter ethical dilemmas during policing activities, whereby they are forced to make critical decisions (Blumberg et al., 2020). For instance, authorities face problems involving justice and mercy, whereby the offender may experience challenges in life, such as sickness and poverty. The societal paradigm shifts have also affected police applicants’ character inputs since many policies have been implemented to protect human rights. Therefore, the officers are encouraged to ensure that they do not engage in unlawful acts to avoid penalties.

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The ethical training of police recruits at the police academy is an essential factor that has improved authorities’ performance. The recruits are educated about ethics and procedures that limit excessive force (Wood et al., 2020). The ongoing and in-service training that police officers receive throughout their careers is also vital as it helps them learn more ways of improving their performance and acting ethically. The preparation is also essential since it enables officers to learn new methods of dealing with different offenders.

One can assess the value and relevance of ethical career training that law enforcement officers receive. Career training allows officers to learn about different ethnic groups (Von-Essen & Hansen, 2018). Nonetheless, the officers face different ethical temptations; for example, some officers are issued huge funds to tamper with evidence, which is illegal. Additionally, the authorities can be biased when dealing with cases involving relatives, friends, or people of their race. Thus, training helps in limiting temptations and ensuring that officers act justly.

The information acquired during the interview reveals that ethics in the criminal justice system is an essential factor that helps officers perform their duties according to the laws that govern them. Governments should also ensure that they educate people about ethics in the criminal justice system to prevent them from engaging in unlawful acts (Blumberg et al., 2020). The materials covered in the text also show that law enforcement is a vital aspect that should be primarily considered as it controls how people interact and engage in various activities in the community.

Criminological theory is vital since it enables individuals to gain an understanding of crime and criminal justice. Rotten Apple’s concept focuses on solutions to deviant police behavior, which can involve poor decision-making. The slippery slope is another crucial model that criminologists have analyzed since it states that petty crimes should be vigorously prosecuted to deter more serious crimes. Ethics can be considered when making minor infractions decisions to ensure that fair judgment is exercised (Wood et al., 2019). Thus, these aspects can influence how criminal justice professionals engage in ethical decisions.

Character, professional training, and individual discretion have impacts on ethical decision-making in law enforcement. Many officers have learned ways to help them make effective decisions during training (Wood et al., 2019). Characters can impact how people make their decisions, and officers are encouraged to have a positive attitude and ensure that they analyze a situation before making any judgment. Individual discretion shows that some officers may be discriminatory, influencing their decision-making. Therefore, these aspects have been analyzed in criminal justice to ensure that they do not lead to poor decision-making in law enforcement.


Criminal justice practitioners face different challenges associated with ethical issues. The interviews revealed that some of the officers encounter various problems when dealing with offenders. For instance, some of the individuals are violent and can harm the authorities. Nonetheless, ethics should be exercised mainly in law enforcement to avoid violating other people’s rights. Various issues are also involved in criminal justice, such as ethical dilemmas, training, and societal paradigm changes. Thus, different training strategies and educating the officers about ensuring that they act justly should be encouraged when focusing on ethics.


Albanese, J. S., Artello, K., & Nguyen, L. T. (2019). Distinguishing corruption in law and practice: Empirically separating conviction charges from underlying behaviors. Public Integrity, 21(1), 22-37.

Blumberg, D. M., Papazoglou, K., & Creighton, S. (2020). The moral risks of policing. In K. Papazoglou & D. M. Blumberg (Eds.), Power (pp. 49-75). Academic Press.

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Von-Essen, E., & Hansen, H. (2018). Policing Peers and Selves between Law and Morality: A Socio-Legal Perspective on Managing Misconduct in Hunting. International Journal of Rural Criminology, 4(1), 1-26.

Wood, G., Roithmayr, D., & Papachristos, A. V. (2019). The network structure of police misconduct. Socius, 5, 1-18.

Wood, G., Tyler, T. R., & Papachristos, A. V. (2020). Procedural justice training reduces police use of force and complaints against officers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(18), 9815-9821.

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