Ethics in Criminal Justice Ethics Essay Example

April 24th, 2020

Law enforcement departments have rules and regulations that clearly stipulate various aspects connected to the working environment of law enforcers, including the use of force and the relationship between a client and an attorney and, hence, the disclosure rules for confidential information (Pollock, 2013). Furthermore, there are situations in which the integrity of law enforcers is compromised, such as when they engage in various types of police corruption including noble cause corruption. Apart from this, punishment is meted out on criminal offenders with specific aims and rationales. The 9/11 incidence worked as a wakeup call for law enforcement departments which led to various shifts in goals and law enforcement mission changes. The understanding of ethics in criminal justice plays an instrumental role in the reinforcement of appropriate measures that facilitate adherence to the set standards by preventing corruption, excessive use of force, loss of confidentiality, and undesirable levels of punishment.

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Question One: Types of Police Corruption

Police corruption is defined as the misuse of authority by the police for individual gain. Police corruption involves different elements such as misuse of authority, actions that promote individual gain, misconduct and deviant behavior on the part of police officers, occupational deviance, and insults to the dignity of humanity. In this regard, there are various types of police corruption (Pollock, 2013). One of the types of police corruption is bribery. This type of corruption related to the police involves instances of police officers receiving or giving money or items of any particular value with the intention of being influenced. A police offer is involved in an act of crime when they receive money from a suspect in exchange for not arresting them. Another type of police corruption is extortion. In this case, police officers threaten individuals with false prosecution the individuals in question pay the police officer. Gratuities are the third type of police corruption (Pollock, 2013). This is the most common type of police corruption as police officers receive various services free of charge, including free meals or discounts on items purchased by them. It is crucial to note that some departments of police officers prohibit gratuities, while others do not. Gratuities are perceived differently by various individuals. Some see them as tokens of gratitude for the good work done by police officers, while others perceive them as expectations of police officers providing more services.

Question Two: Use of Force by Police Officers

Various factors promote the use of force by police officers. This is because the professional code of conduct regarding law enforcement officers states that police officers should use force only in instances when force is strictly necessary and under the lawful requirements in the line of professional duty as postulated by the law (Braswell, McCarthy, & McCarthy, 2014). In this case, police officers are required to use force in self-defense, while making arrests, and in the process of defending individuals or groups of individuals. However, it is unethical or, rather, against the law in the instances when the police officers use force exceedingly with a view of accomplishing their lawful purpose or when their purpose is not guaranteed by the law, such as in apprehension of suspects and self-defense, but rather for individual gain such as coercion and individual retaliation (Banks, 2016).

In clarifying this aspect, Pollock (2013) refers to Ducrose, Langan, and Smith (2007) and their report on the research conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, revealing that in 1.6 % of the interactions between police officers and citizens some level of force is used. Additionally, Pollock (2013) explains the issue further by referencing Gundy (2003) who established that in around 44.6 million police encounters with citizens the rate of use of force was only 1%. However, there is evidence of the use of force in 20% of arrests that are made by police officers. Furthermore, the use of force highly depends on the region. A national survey that was conducted on agencies of law enforcement showed that the South provided the highest rate of use of force, while the lowest rate of using force by law enforcers happened in the West.

Question Three: Noble Cause Corruption

Noble cause corruption refers to the type of corruption that is committed with the intention of causing good outcomes. The fabrication of evidence, the abuse of the authority of the police with the intention of making a charge stick, and lying in courts or on reports represent the elements of noble cause corruption (Banks, 2016). Police officers in some instances view the bending of rules as acceptable instead of viewing it as engaging in corruption or engaging in misconduct, particularly with the insinuation that it is done for a good cause. There are various factors that lead to noble cause corruption. These factors include arrogance and weak supervision. Concerning weak supervision, a manager or a police supervisor might fail to critically look into a successful investigation that is a consequence of noble cause corruption if some police officers conduct many arrests and detections of criminal offenses with twisted intentions (Braswell et al., 2014).

Question Four: Confidentiality Rules of Defense Attorneys

Defense counsels are prohibited from revealing information that is related to client representation unless the counsel believes that the information is likely to cause imminent death or substantial bodily harm. The attorney is, therefore, not required to disclose any particular confidential information regarding their clients. There are specific situations in which attorneys can disclose confidential client information as provided by Rule 1.6 (Pollock, 2013).

The first situation is possible when a client consents to the disclosure of confidential information. in the second instance, an attorney is allowed to disclose client’s information if the particular disclosure is required by law or an order from the court (Pollock, 2013). Third, the information should be disclosed when an individual requires defense for themselves or their employees against wrongful conduct accusation. The fourth situation happens if the client needs to be prevented from being involved in a crime that can cause substantial injury of either financial interests or specified property of another client that the same lawyer is directly affiliated with in the provision of legal services (Banks, 2016). The fifth condition is relevant during the prevention, the mitigation, or the rectification of substantial injury to specific financial interest or specified property that has a high probability of resulting in the commission of the client or their involvement in a crime or fraud to the extent that the client has employed the services of the attorney.

Question Five: Punishment and the Major Rationale for Punishment

Punishment is an action that is meted on an individual or a group of individuals with the aim of eradicating bad behavior or actions. The first major rationale for punishment is retribution (Pollock, 2013). In this regard, when a criminal offender in involved in the breaking of the law, they suffer in return. The proportionality or the level of the punishment is equated to the criminal offense committed by the criminal. Additionally, deterrence is another major rationale for punishment. In this case, punishment plays the role of a threat that deters individuals from engaging in criminal offenses. Particularly, this rationale aims at imposing punishments to offenders with a view of deterring them from committing any other crime in addition to proving the notion that the fear of being punished will make other individuals shun away from engaging in similar crimes (Banks, 2016). Rehabilitation is another major purpose of punishment, whereby the criminal offenders are integrated into care that will enable these individuals to turn over a new leaf. Rehabilitation services that are provided to offenders include community service and being put under probation orders. During rehabilitation programs, criminal offenders acquire skills that aid them in being better individuals afterwards. The last major role of punishment is incapacitation. In this respect, incapacitation plays the role of crime prevention, reducing and deterring the occurrence of crimes as well as criminals (Pollock, 2013).

Question Six: Shift in Goals and Change in Mission of Law Enforcement since 9/11

Since the occurrence of the 9/11 incidence, various shifts in goals and law enforcement mission changes have occurred. The first shift involved the expansion of the law enforcement personnel in addition to the agencies of law enforcement (Pollock, 2013). The second shift is law enforcement militarization and civil liberties merging. The merging of immigration control with the law enforcement that traditionally existed is the third shift that was carried out in response to 9/11 (Pollock, 2013). Furthermore, the evolution of particular legal considerations for law enforcement has occurred. Specifically, the Department of Homeland Security was created. It is a federal umbrella agency that plays the role of enforcing federal laws. This has led to the creation of more law enforcement initiatives, such as the establishment of community policing programs.


In conclusion, there are various types of police corruption, including bribery and extortion. Apart from this, attorneys are not allowed by the law to disclose confidential information in regard to clients. However, there are specific conditions under which disclosure is allowed as provided by rule 11.6. Moreover, when criminals engage in criminal acts, the rationale of punishment being meted out on them is rehabilitation, deterrence, retribution, and incapacitation. Furthermore, since the 9/11 incidence, various shifts in law enforcement have been put in place in addition to the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security as a legal consideration for law enforcement.

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