Ethical Systems

Supporting Lectures:
Ethics and Morals
Ethical Systems
At this early stage of the course, consider your own pre-existing thoughts on the topic of ethical behavior.
What problems arise in the application of personal ethics to law enforcement practices and to the criminal justice system?
What is the difference between morality, ethics, and professional standards? How should a professional in the criminal justice system resolve a conflict between his or her personal ethics and the requirements of the job?
In the criminal justice field, it is not uncommon for professionals to encounter ethical dilemmas: situations where there is more than one possible ethical action to take. Consider an officer who is questioning an addict on the street. Should the officer look the other way if the addict begins suffering withdrawal symptoms and wants to ingest a narcotic? The “ethics of duty” require the officer to prevent the drug use and make an arrest. However, the officer’s personal ethics might demand that he or she show compassion toward a suffering person.

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