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College of Science, Technology & Applied Arts of Trinidad & Tobago
COURSE TITLE: Ethics In Criminal Justice
STUDENT NAME: Sherry Alfonso
STUDENT ID: 00069728
AAS Degree in Criminal Justice
DATE OF SUBMISSION: Sunday, 15th December,2019
Semester 1 -2019/2020
Page 3
Chapter 2 : Determining Moral Behaviour
Page 4-6
Chapter 3: Justice and Law
Page 7-9
Chapter 6: Police Discretion and Dilemmas
Page 10-12
Chapter 7: Police Corruption
Page 13-15
Chapter 11: Ethics and Punishment
Page 16-18
Chapter 12: Discretion and Dilemma in Corrections
Page 19-21
Page 22
In this journal, my aim is to give general information based on the six (6) chapters given. With
the help of my article findings, I will discuss a specific theory on all six (6) chapters. These
theories will help guide me and the reader due to applying the theories to each article, which
would give a clear view of the ethical and unethical dilemmas or situations being talked about.
The objectives of this journal are to identify different ethical systems or ethical theories, explain
why the theories apply to the article and chapter, support my explanation and analyze the
Article Title: Patty Hearst
Article Date: Thursday 18th, September, 1975
Source of Article: FBI / https://www.fbi.gov/history/famous-cases/patty-hearst
Writer: FBI
Ethical Analysis:
We exist in a society, where there are many different definitions of right and wrong. The
principle of right and wrong and the framework of how we live our lives is known as an ethical
system. The ethical system is a structured set of principles that define what are morals. These
systems are universal and attempt to benefit the greater population, and they define what
behaviours are moral and should be followed in society. However, the ethical system allows
judgment to take place and to understand the motive that the individual is carrying out or carried
out. This can be done by where good is defined by the inherent nature of an act (deontological)
or where good is defined by results (teleological). Within these two ethical systems, there are
many subsets of system, among them we can find, ethical formalism and utilitarianism. Hence,
other systems can be used to judge right or wrong, depending on the situation.
Ethical formalism is a system used to differentiate between right and wrong depending on what
ethical dilemma you are in. Utilitarianism is believed that the morality of an action should be
determined by how much it contributes to the good of the majority in society. Other ethical
systems may not agree with utilitarianism depending on the dilemma being occurred. However,
an individual can be morally judged by most people in society. And as a result, the critiques of
utilitarianism is that all pleasure or benefits are not equal.
In 1974 the case of Patty Hearst shocked the law enforcement agencies and the state as to why
she was kidnapped and why did she commit an immoral act, her dilemma was to help her
kidnappers rob a bank or they will kill her family members. Her dilemma was to choose to do
this immoral thing or save her family members, in her dilemma anyone would choose to do an
immoral act to save other people’s lives. This is where utilitarianism comes in, she was trying to
contribute to the greater population, which would have been her family, but helping rob a bank
doesn’t always go as planned , people could get hurt as well. However, in this case , it was said
that her kidnappers were brainwashing her, so no one knew what she was thinking when she
robbed the bank. Utilitarianism is where good is determined by the consequences of the action so
her actions were robbing this bank and the good that came out of it was by saving her family and
more. For this reason, of committing an immoral act she was then wanted as a criminal,
sometimes the law doesn’t want to hear your motive, you chose to do something immoral and
you must be punished. In other words, what might be morally right to a person or some people
in society, maybe considered unethical and immoral by a country based on the moral beliefs of
right and wrong.
Article Title: Woman forgives man who shot her
Article Date: March 21st , 2013
Source of Article: USA Today News /
Writer : Vic Ryckaert
Ethical Analysis:
The notion of justice is built on social stability,interdependence and, equal dignity. Albert
Schweitzer once said, “ Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will
not himself find peace.” In other words, justice is a concept of equal rights, fairness, morals and
ethics and law are rules and guidelines that are enforced by the government to keep order and to
have acceptable behavior in society. When it comes to justice and law, the different types of
justice should be taken into consideration, for example, Distributive justice always include the
good abilities a person might possess, it also gives us theories on how justice should be
distributed and is linked with corrective justice where fair application of the law and punishment
is concerned. Corrective justice is concerned with dispensing punishment and is further broken
down into two categories comprising of Procedural justice and Substantive justice. Procedural
justice is concerned with the steps that are taken to determine punishment and to assign
punishment when needed. Substantive justice involves the concept of just deserts, or how one
determines a fair punishment for a particular offense. Retributive justice is concerned with the
methods of punishment and with the balance of the victim’s suffering and the offender’s
punishment. Restorative justice is where you seek peace with a victim , offender or a community
rather than to take revenge. In other words,the main idea of restorative justice is to be at peace
with yourself and the person who caused you harm.
In 1992, a young woman was faced with life and death right before her eyes, this incident
happened that night all due to another young man committing immoral acts. Even though she
spoke to him and saw his face, he still decided to shoot her in the head and take her car, she
survived and she needed a lot of physical therapy before she was able to speak again. In this
article, she mentioned , how bitter and angry she was whenever she sees her attacker receiving
awards in prison. In addition to this, she said that she wants peace and just want to know why he
did it. Furthermore, she came to forgive him saying “ forgiveness frees the soul” and she was
able to find peace. Restorative justice has been called “ peacemaking justice” by philosophy
because there is a program that seeks to restore victim’s and offender’s health and help them
come to peace with themselves and others. Some people may make bad decisions based on their
lifestyle and age, but it doesn’t mean they won’t change after a few years in prison or rehab. In
other words, his lifestyle made him commit an unethical act that night, which haunted him and
hurt him while he was in prison and someone with a changed heart and mind deserves a second
Article Title: Hillsborough Timeline of the 1989 Stadium Disaster
Article Date: Thursday, 28th November, 2019
Source of Article: BBC News
Writer : BBC News
Ethical Analysis:
Due to the social contract, each person gives up their complete freedom and rights in exchange
for the guaranteed protection of society against others. The police officers are the ones who are
given the freedom and rights of others to protect and serve, to keep order and to enforce their
will.However, the use of force and power became a major issue in policing. This is because
many police officers who are granted power and authority misuse it to commit immoral acts. As
a result, excessive force has been introduced into policing and it is very unethical. Sometimes
police officers are faced with ethical dilemmas that may cause them to commit an immoral act or
commit an act that they thought was right, but they later suffer the consequences of their
actions.However, there are times when police officers are often faced with dilemmas and they
rely on the knowledge of law or their morals as a person.
In England, however, there is an observational overview of gross negligence among the police
dilemmas. As a result, a chief officer who was responsible that day had to face a dilemma that
involves him either leaving the gates closed or having it opened. However, even though he was
witnessing civilians getting injured due to overcrowding behind the gates. He also feared he
would have been forced to open the gate by the crowd. By this happening the chief officers were
indeed forced to open the gate which led to overcrowding and eventually to the cause of ninetyfive deaths in 1989. As to relate to the article, the chief officer did not intend to kill the ninetyfive (95) people. He was forced to do so by the people who pushed their way in. In addition, it
was an unethical decision made by the chief officers to not call for backup or assist the situation.
Due to the circumstances, he had to face the consequences of seven hundred and sixty-six (766)
injured persons. In other words, the officers made an ethical decision based on their opinion ,
which their thought was right at that time, not knowing of the consequences to come later on.
Article Title: Former Greenwood Police Chief Indicted for Violating Civil Rights
Article Date: Wednesday, 13th November , 2019
Source of Article: United States Department of Justice / https://www.justice.gov/usaowdmo/pr/former-greenwood-police-chief-indicted-violating-civil-rights
Writer: U.S Attorney’s Office
Ethical Analysis:
Due to the majority of police officers being professionals and ethical, a small minority of officers
abuse their power. This leads to scrutiny by the public of all police. “ Corrupt and incompetent
police officers have a long history of being protected by their colleagues, police internal affairs
and the government.” (Steven Magee). In other words, the police officers live up to the “ code of
silence” where they know what is going on, who is corrupted and will turn a blind eye to it
because they are a family all in blue. In addition to this, no one is above the law, in the social
contract, the citizens give up their freedom and rights to the police for them to protect and serve
us. However, with all of this power and authority, they abuse it for their gain or because they are
the law and society has to respect and obey them. Also,they abuse their power by physically
enforcing or offending a citizen’s dignity, they use unnecessary force or intimidation to obtain
what they want. Three types of police corruption that must be taken into consideration.
Individual Corruption argues that the officer was already deviant or became deviant after being
hired. Institutional/ Organisation Corruption argues that the officers are poorly managed or
supervised, they ignore ethical problems and it is hypocritical.
Societal Corruption is where the public does not comply with the law and the officers may
rationalize non-enforcement of the law, in some cases, if the public believes crime control is
more important than due process, police will act on that message.
In this article, released by the US Department of Justice simply is about how this police officer
abused his power and authority. As a result, this chief police officer violated civil rights by
assaulting a man while handcuffed, restraint and was sitting on a chair and still decided to throw
the man on the ground all due to an unreasonable search and seizure. However, in this case, it
was alleged that the officer did this, but the report of this incident was on the same day it
occurred. Hence, all of this information being given, organisational corruption, is seen in this
case. Being a chief police officer, no one is going to question you due to your authority in your
police department. This is also a noble cause corruption because the officer used illegal and
unethical means to get his desirable goals by completing the unreasonable search and seizure. In
other words, any person who is granted power and authority will do anything to meet their goals
no matter what it takes and who gets in their way.
Article Title: Chadee signs his death warrant
Article Date: Saturday, 25th February, 2012
Source of Article: Guardian News / https://www.guardian.co.tt/article-6.2.416873.16d3bb8fb5
Writer: Kito Johnson
Ethical Analysis:
In law, the ethics of punishment is determined and looked at closely, punishment is an infliction
of suffering to an offender. For example, when punishing a person , the punisher is authorized by
the law to inflict punishment on the offender and the one being punished has been judged in
violation of a criminal law. Ethics of punishment also has a treatment according to correctional
terminology, the goal of this is to induce behaviour change, such as, elimination of dysfunctional
or deviant behaviour, and to encourage productive and normal behavior. Punishment is also
rationale, for instance, the social contract provides the rationale for punishment and corrections
due to citizens avoiding chaos and giving the state power to control them. The correctional goal
of punishment starts with Retribution and Prevention. Retribution according to Jeremy Bentham,
“ Criminal offenses deserve punishment that balances the pleasure or profit of the offense.” In
other words, the punishment for the offender should be as equal as the crime they have
committed. Prevention assumes that something should be done to the offender so that he/she
won’t commit future criminal activity, this includes deterrence, incapacitation, and treatment.
This uses specific deterrence to teach the offenders through punishment and general deterrence is
to teach the offenders by using an example or making them an example of the consequences of
the crime they committed. Incapacitation is used to keep the offender in prison for no further risk
of future crimes. The ethical justifications of punishment also include Utilitarianism, Ethical
Formalism, and Ethics of Care. Utilitarianism is used for treatment, incapacitation, and
deterrence and it is also to punish because it benefits the greater majority. Ethical Formalism is
used to punish because the offender deserves it and it is also retribution and Ethics of Care is
only used to punish when it's necessary to meet the needs of all involved and also Restorative
In the 1980s drugs were a huge opportunity to get money just by using your country as a
transshipment point and if you were in law enforcement, you were paid to turn a blind eye. Even
though one of the smartest men held accountable for this would always walk free but in 1993 he
and 2 relatives were held and charged for killing a man. The sad thing about this case was that
the witness for this case was killed a few days before he had to provide evidence. This case
against him and his relatives collapsed. Being with so much power and being able to kill
someone and get away with it, would make someone feel untouchable, but in 1994 he had
ordered a hit of an entire family, this case automatically made him sign his death warrant. In
Trinidad and Tobago, in those years , the punishment for a crime like this was execution by
hanging. When the night came for this horrendous crime to take place, it didn’t go as planned ,
one of his men left-back the families, two children. The 11-year-old son and a 9-year-old
daughter were hidden by one of his men , who said everyone was dead. No man who is
committing an immoral act should be so cruel enough to kill innocent children. In other words, a
child or children should not be held accountable for their parent’s or family’s wrongdoings. This
case leads to, two out of his eight men to turn against him and become witnesses. In Ethical
Formalism , Immanuel Kant’s theory clearly states, if something is wrong it is wrong at all times
and if something is right, it is right at all times, a person should do the right thing for the right
reasons. His two men did this, after thinking , they realised they should do the right thing, having
to kill innocent children isn’t the way to go. Even though it was wrong of them to do this, they
got money and power. Ethical Formalism is saying money and power should not order you to kill
a family that includes children. Utilitarianism is saying it is believed that the morality of an
action should be determined by how much it contributes to the greater good of society. The two
men did the correct thing because of how much more families they could or would have killed
and how much more children they would have to hide. Hence , all of this information, Dole
Chadee and the eight men of his gang was sentenced to death by hanging, their punishment was
as equal as their crimes and it was believed up onto this day that these men got what they
Article Title: Shocking footage taken within an Ohio jail appears to show abuse by correctional
Article Date: June, 21st , 2019
Source of Article: Insider News / https://www.insider.com/footage-taken-within-ohio-jail-showabuse-by-correctional-officers-2019-6
Writer: Lauren Frias
Ethical Analysis:
Discretion is an individual's choice or judgment. In the correction law enforcement, there are
many definitions for discretion. For example,discretion is a full range of control, including denial
of liberty and application of physical force, correction officer has discretionary power, this
power is used to exercise a discretion which the court cannot legally interfere, this power leads to
inmates being charged with a disciplinary infraction versus delivery of a verbal reprimand.
People with power and authority often abuse it, in society if you don't like someone or envy
them, you try everything for them to not succeed. In addition to this, the prisons are just like this,
if officers have the authority or play a part of your early release, they can deny your early
release. For example, noted above, they have control of denying you your freedom. In prison,
solitary confinement is usually taking thirty to sixty (30-60) days, months or even years, this can
be one of the cruelest punishments a prisoner can receive, this is where the inmate has no
interaction with other inmates and all they get is food when necessary. According to Dr. Elena
Suarez of Brain Chemistry, “ Robert King was in confinement for twenty-nine (29) years and
because of being in confinement for so long, fear and anxiety were two symptoms that he had
when he was in solitary confinement.” Inmates are usually put into confinement when behaved
badly or to avoid prison staff and other prison inmates.Correction officers often abuse their
power by humiliating or belittling inmates, they do this to show them that they are in power and
that they can't do anything because they'll get into trouble or receive harsh punishment.
In this video, three (3) victims were abused by prison guards all because of their discretionary
power. The first victim Terrance Dubose, a mentally ill patient was punched on his head several
times by two (2) prison officers who were then left with a concussion resulting from the
beatings, according to the reports , which was tampered by one of the prison guards. One of the
officers were charged and the other was indicted, if the officer was accused of a serious crime
and there was evidence, how was he indicted and not charged to be found guilty. The second
victim, Chantelle Glass was strapped to a wheelchair , received a punch to her face where she
kicked the officer to then receive pepper spray directly in her eyes. These officers were indicted
and charged, the main questions to these “ ritual of torture” is why do these things occur , is it
because the guards hold so much power and ca do what they want? Lastly, this victim Joseph
Arquillo collapsed due to drug overdose and he was ignored for two hours before he got medical
help. He was then pronounced dead hours later, there are many questions to understand how,
where and whom he got the drugs from and what kind of drugs did he take or received. Hence,
all this information, according to David Cameron, “ The evil of corruption reaches into every
corner of the world. It lies at the heart of the most urgent problems we face.” These words simply
mean even a good person can become evil because of the world we live in.
In conclusion, there can be a doubt on these articles given above, since everyone would apply
different ethical theories based on their opinion. After analyzing the articles , one should or
might be aware of the problems that take place in everyday society. These topics , should make
someone look at things differently based on their values and morals. According to W. Clement
Stone , "Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing
because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity." These words
simply mean your actions should always be honest based on your morals and ethical principles.