Ethics in Criminal Justice


Ethicsin Criminal Justice

Ethicsin Criminal Justice

HowPolice Subcultures May Undermine an Agency’s Code of Ethics

Thepolice sub-cultures means a set of behaviors, beliefs, and attitudesthat develop over time and are exhibited by persons in the lawenforcement. The academic discourse insinuates that the policeculture is usually negative since it is mostly cynical and has an “usversus them” kind of thinking. However, it is important to notethat the sub-cultures frequently overlook benefits that includeteamwork, empathy, and the support exercised by colleagues.

Thepolice code of ethics requires that all the people in the lawenforcement should protect the public equally, regardless of theirsex, race, identity, or class. The code also requires that the policemust be law abiding citizens themselves and that they cannot violateany civil liberties. The ethics hold all law enforcers to a moralstandard that is high and above that of members of the generalpublic. This means they should not use the power bestowed upon themby law for selfish interests or corruptly (Malmin, 2012).

Whenthe police develop their code of conduct popularly called the policesub-cultures or the “cop code” loyalty shifts from the policecode of ethics to their colleague officers. This might be because thepolice share a common way of life and that they also face the samedangers and challenges. The problems that the policemen face createan “us versus them” mindset not only against those who break thelaw, but also toward other stakeholders like the politicians and theother citizens who are considered to be independent of lawenforcement (Malmin, 2012).

Asa result of the cop code, a law enforcer may tamper with or hideevidence, rough up a suspected criminal or break the law, but otherpolice officers ignore such transgressions or even assist incommitting them. When the general public senses these kinds ofactions from the policemen, trust, and respect for the constabulariesgoes down considerably and in neighborhoods where minority groupslive, the officers are often branded as racists. This makes theindependent citizens less willing in helping the police forces tosolve crimes and in extreme cases, civil unrest may arise (Malmin,2012).

Strategiesto Improve the Ethical Environment and Standards in the PoliceDepartment

Oneof the major strategies to improve the ethical environment in thepolice department is by having the administrators implementdepartmental policies that enforce a culture change. These guidelinesshould be able to include easy access to resources and provide for achange in attitude surrounding the programs that need to be improved.Police officers should not be made to fear that they will be fired orpassed during their next promotion if they come forward withlegitimate concerns and challenges about the job they do at the field(Malmin, 2012).

Anotherstrategy will be to have a very active internal affairs division inthe police department. The sector will be crucial as it will assistto minimize cases of misconduct and corruption within the lawenforcement community. This strategy can be reinforced by communityorganizations and other watchdogs whose main aim are to providechecks and balances in the police department, thus making sure thattransgressions such as the ones discussed above do not see the lightof day. The police department should start doing thorough, intensiveand very conclusive background checks and psychological screening forpotential police officers to root out persons that displayanti-social personalities. Moreover, community policing is anotherstrategy that would facilitate integration and mutual relationsbetween the police and the locals. This approach would help depictthe police as friendly individuals as opposed to being viewed as eviland corrupt people when undertaking their duties.

EthicalConcerns Facing the U.S. Criminal Justice System Today


Recently,there has been an overwhelming upsurge in the number of the youth inthe criminal justice system. Therefore, there is a necessity toreview how juvenile offenders are viewed. Between the year 1985 and1992, the number of crimes committed by juveniles aged between 15 and16 years old including homicides involving guns shot up by more than100 percent (Pollock, 2014). More to it, African American juvenileoffenders for drug offenders doubled as well. Thus, I selected theissue because it is affecting younger people. With the olderpopulation aging, production and society advancement is left in theabilities of the young people. However, when most of these youthfulpopulation is involved in juvenile homicides it becomes a concern asthe society is robbed of its talented and productive members.

Historyof the Issue

Atthe onset of 1985, when the crack cocaine hit the streets,distribution patterns changed. This led to the absorption of youthsinto the distribution circles so as to meet the rising demand. Sincethe young recruits were not able to get police protection, they optedto purchase guns so as to protect themselves and their valuedpossessions. They networked through schools and in the streets of theinner cities and more guns diffused into the youths for bothprotection and status. Therefore, getting the guns out of the handsof the youth would encourage responsible law abiding citizens(Tanenhaus &amp Zimring, 2014). When commonly occurring fist fightscould happen, they rapidly escalated to the shootings. As more youthacquired guns, other young individuals were also enticed to armthemselves, thus this led to a great propensity for gun violence andmore specifically, juvenile homicide cases.

Strategiesand Recommendations

Insummary, to get guns out of the hands of minors and reduce cases ofjuvenile homicides, the existing legislation needs to be morefocused. Illegal gun markets need to be controlled and more emphasisgiven to illicit firearms (Tanenhaus &amp Zimring, 2014). Moreimportantly, we need to tackle the problem of the increasing numberof youths whose hope for future economic prosperity has dwindled asthey represent ready recruits for the illegal firearms market. Thus,stringent gun control amendments are regulations are required to helppromote the wellbeing of the youth in the society.


Malmin,M. (2012). The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. ChangingPolice Subculture,29(2).

Pollock,J. M. (2014). Ethicaldilemmas and decisions in criminal justice.Belmont,Calif: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Tanenhaus,D. S., &amp Zimring, F. E. (2014). Choosingthe future for American juvenile justice.New York: New York University Press.