Ethics in Criminal Justice Administration Analysis

Ethics in Criminal Justice Administration Analysis







Ethics in Criminal Justice Administration Analysis

The aspect of ethics is a critical one regarding professional behaviour in criminal justice administration. Ethics concerns with the making of moral judgements on what is right or wrong. It is the ethical aspect that helps humans to make the right choices when faced with a dilemma. The criminal justice is frequently faced with various ethical problems that require being dealt with in a professional manner. The results of any decision made during the administration of criminal justice need to meet citizen’s needs. Moreover, criminal justice administration requires that there is a balancing of concerns during law enforcement.  Such concerns include such as victim protection, prosecution of the guilty, respecting the rights of the accused and creation of a safe community. Considering the role of ethical issues in criminal justice administration, this paper seeks to explore the aspects regarding the relationship between ethics and the professional behaviour in criminal justice administration. Moreover, the paper also gives areas of ethical conduct that should be communicated in a law enforcement seminar.

Relationship of ethics and professional behaviour in criminal justice administration

Often, behaviour changes from one setting to another and from one culture to another. The criminal justice system uses codes of ethics to define their professional behaviour. According to Gilman (2005), the ethical code acts as the ultimate reference for law enforcement officers and hence the framework upon which this profession is built on. Therefore, the existence of these codes that determine the behaviour of law enforcement officers even when it is contrary to their personal interests or prejudice. Dunham (2004) explains that the code of ethics for the law enforcement officers hence determines their conduct. Any action or conduct that is against the code of ethics is considered unethical and hence unprofessional as far as the criminal justice administration is concerned. Moreover, law enforcement officers are required to act in a manner that progressively aims to improve the welfare of the community’s safety. These officers need to have the motive to enact the call of their duty without being convinced to do so. Such call of duty should be determined by their reasoning. According to Durham (2004), the reasoning to act in a particular way depends on one’s understanding of basic principles pertaining ethics.

As earlier defined, ethics require a person to act as per some set principles that determine good or bad. The code of ethics for law enforcement officers defines the responsibilities of these officers. For instance, Dunham (2004) explains that law enforcement officers need to provide assistance that is constructive and objective despite their personal feelings. Besides, law enforcement officers need to conduct themselves in a manner that is not influenced by their emotions, insufficient evidence or personal prejudice. Adherence to such responsibilities requires the making of judgement by the law enforcement officers to be ethical as they have to uphold the welfare of the community above that of theirs.

According to Peny (2012), ethics are the foundation of law enforcement. Therefore, the conduct of law enforcement officers is determined by the ethics. Law enforcement officers are perceived to be exemplary in upholding ethics in the society. Their activities determine the standard to which a society is ethical. The reason for this inference is that law enforcement officers are guided by laws and policies that determine their administration of justice. According to Fortenbery (2015), the extent to which they adhere to these principles that determine their professional behaviour defines the integrity of the law enforcement. Such integrity determines the trust that people have on law enforcement officers in carrying out their responsibilities.

Role of critical thinking in the relationship between ethics and professional behaviour: Criminal justice administration

As discussed earlier, professions need to exercise sound and unbiased judgements during the interpretation and analysis of information and in the determination of a problem’s nature. Moreover, professions need to identify and evaluate possible courses of their actions, make decisions and monitor the impact of their problem-solving activity. According to Facione, Sánchez, Facione and Gainen (1995), these activities require a professional to be self-corrective, reflective and have purpose-thinking. Such thinking needs to account the context, content knowledge, conceptualization, evidence and various pre-existing standards of adequacy. Lai (2011) explains that these activities are essential aspects that are determined by critical thinking.

Often, law enforcement officers are required to act in a manner reflective of the fundamental value of ethical behaviour. Moreover, law enforcement officers are required to apply this value of ethical behaviour in their jobs. The discernment of the ethical behaviour and its application in matters pertaining criminal justice require a process of professional judgement (Durham, 2004). Such professional judgement entails the process of critical thinking. Therefore, critical thinking is pertinent in determining the application of values pertaining ethical behaviour by law enforcement officers. It enables law enforcement officers to make good decisions pertaining what is right or wrong and when a violation of law occurs.

Law enforcement officers are required to act in particular manner that facilitates their readiness to improve the safety of the community. Such responsibility, often, is contrary to the personal interests and prejudice of the law enforcement officers (Durham, 2004). In such instances, law enforcement officers need to have a specific disposition that is geared to offer justice despite their personal feeling or emotions. The habitual process of acting in a given manner requires law enforcement officers to be such as open-minded, fair-minded, inquisitive, have the desire to be well informed and have the propensity to seek reason. According to Lai (2011), such capabilities are the product of critical thinking. Therefore, the consistent motive to act in a specific way despite the influence to act otherwise is determined by a person’s critical thinking.

Seminar Proposal

According to Fortenbery (2015), development of ethical human resource requires consistent and frequent training. It is essential to include ethics instructions for law enforcement officers as their behaviour reflects the trust the community have on them. A training seminar will be important for law enforcement officers to deal with various ethical dilemmas and how to handle them. The following section considers some of the ethical areas that should be addressed in a seminar.

The ethical areas that need to be addressed involve values, trust, objectivity, selflessness and accountability (Gilman, 2005). Law enforcement officers are faced with various challenges that tempt them to compromise with the requirement of their duty to uphold the welfare of the community. For instance, law enforcement officers may be confronted with bribes from drug organizations. Moreover, law enforcement officers are faced with various security threats that may make them compromise with their ethical behaviour to protect their personal interests. Such challenges need the law enforcement officers to be trained and reminded of their ethical obligation of being selfless. Law enforcement officers ought to act solely in the interest of the public.

Doty (2015) also accounts for the importance of trust in law enforcement officers. Law enforcement officers need to be trusted as having the right character although being malleable and situational. Such trustworthy character will improve the trust the community have on the law enforcement officers as they are not subject to persuasion to act contrary to their ethical professional behaviour.  Moreover, law enforcement officers need to be accountable for their actions. Their actions need to exhibit high standards of ethical value upon scrutiny. Such accountability is essential in ensuring that law enforcement officers do not misuse their offices. These offices are regarded as centres for moral correction and hence should not portray contrary principles.

There have been concerns pertaining racism and social stratification in the administration of justice. Such allegations may result in compromised trust in the justice administrative systems. Therefore, there is need to ensure that law enforcement officers are objective in the administration of justice to avoid such allegations (Durham, 2004). Moreover, law enforcement officers need to abide and belief in particular values. A consistent reminder of these values that determine and guide their actions is essential in ensuring that their behaviour is not contrary to their expected professional behaviour.


The above discussion reveals that systems that deal with the administration of justice are pertinent to the society. They are expected to uphold the moral values of the people while ensuring the safety of the community. Therefore, these administrative bodies need to exhibit the highest level of ethical standards in the community. Failure to ensure ethical behaviour by the law enforcement bodies results in the lack of trust in them by the community an aspect that might be detrimental in the progressive development of the society. Ethics determined the profession behaviour in the administration of criminal justice. This paper shows that the conduct of law enforcers is determined by their ethics. The discernment of proper ethical behaviour and the application of its value in law enforcement are determined by critical thinking. Since critical thinking can be influenced by training, it is also pertinent to hold seminars for criminal justice administrators as a way of improving their ethical behaviour.




Doty, J. (2015). It’s Not About Trust, It’s About Thinking and Judgment. Military Review, 95(3), 78-93.

Dunham, D. (2004). Every calling is great when greatly pursued. MLO: medical laboratory observer36(3), 24-26.

Facione, P. A., Sánchez, C. A., Facione, N. C., & Gainen, J. (1995). The disposition toward critical thinking. The Journal of General Education, 1-25.

Fortenbery, J. (2015). Developing Ethical Law Enforcement Leaders: A Plan of Action. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 1-5.

Gilman, S. C. (2005). Ethics codes and codes of conduct as tools for promoting an ethical and professional public service: comparative successes and lessons. Washington DC.

Lai, E. R. (2011). Critical thinking: A literature review. Pearson’s Research Reports6, 40-41.

Peny, L. J.(2012). Technology Ethics for Law Enforcement. American International Journal of Contemporary Research, 2 (2), 124-133.

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