Ethical Issues and Dilemmas in the Criminal Justice

Subject: Law
Pages: 4
Words: 924
Reading time:
4 min
Study level: College


The criminal justice professionals face ethical issues every day while carrying out the duties that can be related to the criminal justice system. The main purpose of the paper is to provide the factual analysis of the ethical situations and to examine how the choices affected the individual, community, or society as a whole.

It should be pointed out that the system of justice is not perfect as it involves the work of the human and according to the human nature, mistakes cannot be eliminated. However, the index of misconceptions should be reduced to the minimum, especially in such a significant area as jurisdiction. As the matter of fact, the number of wrong convinced is increasing with every year. This fact was the reason for the volunteers and the lawyers to develop the Innocence Projects that aim to investigate the cases and to release innocent people from the prison (Pollock, 2014). According to the recent statistics, the number of released individuals who were sentenced because of the improper confession or misconduct is more than one thousand. The criminal justice system requires the usage of the advanced approaches that are connected not only to the dimension of political or organizational re-understanding but the significance of the ethical fundamentals should not be undervalued.

Ethical Issue 1: Capital Punishment

The criminal justice professionals usually deal with the ethical issues and dilemmas. George Ryan, the American politician, announced the moratorium to the capital punishment when five sentenced people were exonerated because of the DNA evidence. The controversial nature of the question caused a lot of debates around the moratorium. The number of discussions proves the significance of the solution of the issue regarding the penalty. Moreover, Ryan commuted the sentence of more than 160 prisoners. It should be stated that the politician faced a personal dilemma. According to his points of view, capital punishment cannot put an end to the criminal actions and the fact, that innocent people can be murdered is not just. That is, despite the pressure of the opponents, Ryan contributed to the exonerating of the innocent people sentenced by the misconduct. I suppose that this issue is controversial; however, I am strongly convinced that people should not use the death as the tool to control crime.

Ethical Issue 2: Corruption

Corruption is one of the most difficult problems to tackle. However, the lack of cooperation to reduce the level of corruption can result in severe consequences. The driver of the truck wants to give a bribe to receive the truck driver license; in the case when someone will die because the driver was inattentive, the employees who got the bribe and the driver would be responsible for the death or adverse injuries of the human being. The apathy of the community has a significant impact on the prevention of the corruption. The case affects employees, driver, and the community as such situation can repeat in future. Corruption is the most urgent ethical dilemma. I do not profess to be an expert regarding the subject, but I am strongly convinced that bribery is a crime, and that is, should be appropriately punished. People who give and take bribes should be judged according to the legislation.

Ethical Issue 3: Drug Use

According to the evidence of the drug statistics, more than a half arrested males have positive results while the drug test. It should be stated the criminal justice professional face the issue whether to decriminalize a drug and what consequences it will have on the community and the crime cycle. From the one side, legalization of the drugs had the positive outcome on the crime statistic in some countries. However, the other side of the problem is that the legalization will not put an end to the drug-related problems. I suppose, the decision regarding the decriminalization of drugs will impact the society in the negative way as it will consequently make drugs the easy target for the adolescents and will not be moral.

Ethical Issue 4: Injustice

One of the problems of the modern justice system is that the mistakes take place, and the wrong testimony sometimes results in the punishment of the innocent person. Sometimes police officers use their power to influence people for no reason. If a person punched the police officer, he or she should be aware that the police officer can defend himself. However, what can be done in the case when the police officer starts the fight first? The question of the injustice is rather widespread and affects every person. It should be stressed that the described above case will affect everyone except the police officer. The man will be convinced, the family will probably face difficulties, and the society will be influenced as well, as such situation are likely to happen again.


In conclusion, it should be pointed out that the morality and human behavior are highly connected to the criminal justice and should be taking into account. The criminal justice professional face ethical dilemmas and issues every day, and that is, the proper understanding of the problem will consequently lead to the decrease in the cases connected to misconduct or false witness. As the matter of fact, the decisions made by the criminal justice professionals affect not only a single individual but also his or her family, or even community in general. To eliminate such outcome, I would take active actions against the injustice. The public should react more effectively on the unjust cases as it is the only way to struggle with such ethical issues.


Pollock, J. (2014). Ethical dilemmas and decisions in criminal justice (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.