The criminal justice system is broadly considered one of the most significant public service sectors. Undoubtedly, the community regularly interacts with agencies that are responsible for social control. Those employees that are involved in criminal justice often confront situations in which they are challenged to make a prompt and individualized decision. Potential of the latter can have harmful or even fatal ramifications. Since the officers are accountable for public protection and crime prevention, they have a duty to address such incidents with the best of their abilities. Thus, the purpose of the given paper is to discuss significance and role of internal ethical behavior in criminal justice agency’s efforts to establish social order within society.
Ethics plays an increasingly important part in the criminal justice system, as long as moral codes promote certain rules and instructions for deportment of a police officer. It is worth admitting that law would have little use and sense if ethical standards were absent (Braswell, B. R. McCarthy, B. R., & B. J. McCarthy, 2012). Depending on a career path and job position within criminal administration, moral principles affect officials’ decision-making, influence their communication with an offender, and predetermine interpretation of rules and regulations. Specific guidelines and sanctions are designed to maintain and powerfully promote order within the law enforcement community. Establishing a rigid structure internally proved to be the most effective way to take control over the public (Pollock, 2014). In other words, a criminal justice agency should be highly devoted to ethical norms and ideals that surpass those of an average resident. In such a way, an officer epitomizes a role model for ordinary citizens, thereby considerably contributing to crime control and assistance.
It is abundantly clear that society opts for proper organization and consistency only because a sense of utility is present. Morals, beliefs, and behaviors substantially vary among individuals. Consequently, people have determined what is the most appropriate for general public. The achievement of desirable means offers a person the so-called terminal value (Pollock, 2014). The main purpose of criminal justice authorities is to reinforce standards and convictions, upon which the community has agreed, such as respect, loyalty, integrity, accountability, empathy, honor, etc. Without a distinct internal ethical conduct, criminal agency’s efforts to prevent and control crimes become extremely redundant.
Another strategic tool to maintain social order is to instill public trust, which, by the way, is the major goal of any institution operating in the criminal justice system. Highly publicized incidents related to police misconduct promote negative common perception of law enforcement bodies (Banks, 2013). When people become aware of the issues that involve officers’ misbehavior, they tend to assume that the entire agency is corrupt or unjust rather than separate individuals who have been accused. Therefore, maintenance of internal ethical deportment becomes an important consideration for all stakeholders involved.
Given the fact that humans are imperfect by nature, they need proper control and continued supervision. Thus, careful attention must be paid to building a strong ethical platform within law enforcement authorities that must be held accountable for social compliance with the agreed values and norms. Many philosophers, such as Plato, promoted a certain view that moral standards require a person to assess his/her actions from a broad perspective (Souryal, 2015). More specifically, the Platonic caves provide the cases when rational decisions tend to be regarded as ethically right but the dilemma may disagree with the suggested action. The philosopher metaphorically considered the cave as a dark place, and the individual can successfully remove this darkness only when he/she attempts to see the world in a different light (Souryal, 2015). For instance, a policeman notices that a car violates speeds limits and proceeds to investigation. The intoxicated driver happens to be one of his colleagues working in the same department. Hence, the officer makes some constructive remarks and lets him go. The Platonic cave allows the law-enforcement official to make concessions to his co-workers and does not do the same to other people living in the community. Plato’s analysis views such behavior as immoral and detrimental, as long as it can cause harm to those involved.
The more an agency and/or a police officer reflect on the potential consequences of each decision, the more likely they are to adhere to ethical standards and norms. It is essential to fully understand that each resolution can create a chain reaction, which ultimately may disturb public order and provoke disrespect to criminal justice (Souryal, 2015). Achieving compliance of the officials is possible by communicating the benefits of adherence (Turvey & Crowder, 2013). When a body of internal affairs focuses its efforts on explaining rules and regulations, law enforcers are more likely to accept and practice them on a daily basis. The more comprehensive ethical principles are, the better the organization will respond to external challenges that revolve around public offences and crimes.
In conclusion, achieving internal ethical behavior is one of the primary concerns for criminal justice authorities aiming to maintain civility and social order. Individuals differ in their values and beliefs; therefore, humans must agree upon a satisfactory medium that demonstrates structure and conformity in public. The criminal justice system plays a significant role in ensuring that laws and regulations are designed with respect to acceptable standards, such as equity and fairness. Thus, these decisions can dramatically affect not only wellbeing of an officer but also other members of a community. Regardless of guidelines and morals promoted by each organization, the burden lies on those who have come to an ethically inappropriate conclusion.