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Criminal Justice Ethics

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You have a corrections officer who has worked in the county jail for 7 years. He has been described as a dedicated, competent employee, one who is well respected by colleagues and administrators alike. However, personal problems have arisen in his life. His wife is filing for divorce, and his daughter, contrary to his wishes, is involved with a man of a different race who has been arrested on several occasions for domestic violence. On this particular day, he reports for work tired and irritable after dealing with problems at home. One 18-year-old inmate quickly begins to get on his nerves. He never stops complaining, with most of his complaints directed at the officer. Finally, after telling the inmate to "shut up or else" several times, the officer lost control and slapped him hard across the face, leaving a mark and a small cut.

The confrontation was witnessed by other inmates. This is the first time that this has happened to the officer. His supervisor sends another officer to cover his post, and he reports to the superintendent's office. He recounts the incident, concluding with "I did it, I hit him hard and deserve to be fired. Or would you let me resign? I am very sorry it happened this way." During the initial investigation, the superintendent feels confident that the officer has violated several tenets outlined in the code of ethics for public safety personnel, and he forwards his disciplinary recommendation for your review.

After completing your review of the case file, explain what you would do under these circumstances.

What codes of ethics can you identify and how might they apply to this scenario? Explain.

Would you fire the corrections officer? Why or why not?

Would you allow him to resign instead of terminating him? Why or why not?

Is there another course of action that you would consider taking? If so, explain.
Rationalize the decision you make.

How much weight, if any, should legitimately be given to his personal problems? Explain.

Do you feel that race could be a contributing factor, in light of the issue with his daughter? Why or why not?

To what extent, if any, would your decision be guided by the institution's subculture? Explain.

Be sure to reference all sources using APA style.

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After completing your review of the case file, explain what you would do under these circumstances.

I would fire the officer. Correctional officers do not have the autonomy to lash out because of personal problems, and this incident would most certainly justify a lawsuit on behalf of the inmate who was attacked by the officer. In addition I would bring criminal assault charges against the officer. If an inmate were to strike an officer he or she would face severe consequences, and this should be the case for any correctional officer who arbitrarily uses force in pursuit of any objective other than restraining a subject.

What codes of ethics can you identify and how might they apply to this scenario? Explain.

The code of ethics would be the corrections handbook that dictates behavior given by each correctional institution to new officers. In addition the standards determined by the American Correctional Association, the largest and oldest correctional accreditation and professional agency would also dictate how to address this scenario. The criminal actions committed by this guard are indeed criminal and would warrant the ...

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The expert examines criminal justice ethics.

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History of Criminal Justice Ethics and Gratuities

While at the academy many years ago, you were trained that it is against department policy to accept gratuities and discounts, half-priced meals, even a free cup of coffee on the grounds that "except for your paycheck, there's no such thing as an honest buck." In practice, however, things are less clear-cut.

For example, it is common among uniformed patrol officers and sergeants to accept free coffee and snacks at a donut shop in one of the high-crime areas in your city. Nearly all of the uniformed officers accept the coffee, sodas, cookies, and doughnuts offered freely by the store owner, and the department seems, in truth, to know but not care that officers are accepting this free hospitality.

As deputy chief, you find yourself developing a good personal relationship with a certain store owner. You respect his willingness to work hard and truly appreciate his generosity in supplying you and your colleagues with a much-needed cup of coffee, some food, and a warm welcome on your long, sometimes tedious and lonely tours of duty. Correspondingly, he seems genuinely happy to see you, and he appreciates your willingness to spend your breaks at his establishment. He has been held up at gun point twice in the past, and it makes him feel safer with you there.

Around 3:30 a.m., while riding with one of your patrol officers, he pulls over a car that has just gone through a red light. When the officer approaches the vehicle, he recognizes the operator as the store owner on his way home from a night's work. He gets out of the vehicle and notices you standing alongside of his vehicle. He addresses you by name and reaches out to shake your hand. He tells you he is sorry about the traffic light and says, "Hey, you are not going to let this young policeman give your old buddy here a ticket for a little thing like that, are you?"

First, identify the ethical and legal issues presented in this scenario.

When did criminal justice professionals begin to seriously examine ethics and police officer misconduct? Explain.

How do you think this situation would have been handled 50 years ago? 25 years ago? 10 years ago? Explain.

What factors do you think contributed to the evolution of criminal justice ethics throughout recent history?

Which of these ethical and legal issues do you feel are the most important? Why?
What would you do in this situation? Why?

Remember to place yourself in the deputy chief's shoes when determining how you would handle this situation.

If you were to ticket the store owner, how do you think the other officers might respond to your actions? Why?

How would you address their responses? Explain.

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