How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask DXJAnswerMagic Your Own Question
DXJAnswerMagic, Professional w/Adv. Degree
Category: Homework
Satisfied Customers: 2253
Experience:  MALS, MSOM, BA with honors in 3 majors and 2 minors, assisted K-12, Undergrad and Grad students
Type Your Homework Question Here...
DXJAnswerMagic is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

For DXJ Writer: My acct situation will be corrected as of the

This answer was rated:

For DXJ Writer: My acct situation will be corrected as of the 15th so I will settle up for last week! New class and assignments start today for five weeks! Can you assist me within these five weeks? First assignment Below
Write a 700- to 1,050-word paper in which you discuss a moral dilemma you have faced recently in your professional life. Address the following in your paper:

· The nature of the dilemma

· The alternative courses of action that you contemplated

· The decision you made

· The reasons for that decision

· The outcome of the situation

Format your paper consistent with APA guidelines.
Due Friday

DXJAnswerMagic :

Hi! Did you have something in mind for this?

DXJAnswerMagic :

I can't view it. It asks for login.

DXJAnswerMagic :

Have you ever used the program cutepdf?

DXJAnswerMagic :

It is a free program that prints online files (screenshots) or documents on the web as pdfs.

DXJAnswerMagic :

That might work. Otherwise, you can send me the document or link. ok?


This is the entire syllabus for the class and no I really don't and haven't had a to think about it. I had a death in the family on Saturday. So, I haven't been home.

DXJAnswerMagic :

So sorry.........deepest condolences to you and your family.

DXJAnswerMagic :

No rush.........I'm at the college all day and night on Tuesdays:-)


Ok, I figured I try, I can copy and paste it weekly if I have too

DXJAnswerMagic :


DXJAnswerMagic :

Like I said, no rush. Take care of YOU!


Part of the reading material for the first week:


Week One Read Me First

Ethics and the Criminal Justice Practitioner



The study of ethical decision-making in criminal justice encompasses consideration of the theories and philosophy of ethics; the roles and dilemmas facing criminal justice professionals and agencies; and the ethical issues that may exist between the criminal justice system and the community.


This course explores the standards and codes of professional responsibility in criminal justice professions. Professional codes include the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics, Jail Association Code of Ethics for Jail Officers, and the American Correctional Association Code of Ethics. The course also explores strategies to analyze and evaluate ethical dilemmas, roles of professional organizations and agencies, ethics and community relations, ethics in criminal justice laws and procedures, and civil liability in law enforcement and correctional environments.


Upon completion of this course, you will be familiar with ethical roles, duties and challenges of law enforcement, court systems, and corrections professionals. You also consider how these professionals are working to address some of the most ethically challenging issues in the system.


This Week in Relation to the Course


Week One focuses on a historical review of ethics theories and how they influence the criminal justice practitioner. The importance of ethics and distinguishing between morality, ethics, duties, and values is explored. Ethical decision-making processes will be analyzed.


Discussion of a Key Point, Thread, or Objective


The terms ethics and morality are not interchangeable. Ethics is defined as “the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation”(Ethic, n.d.). It involves the rational consideration of actions and choices, characters, and lives. In contrast, morality is a practice of these principles on a regular basis, or as “...a system of moral conduct” leading ultimately to the living of a moral life (Morality, n.d.).


Morality is grounded in conduct that is related to integrity and adherence to a code of moral values. As a result, while most people may be technically viewed as ethical because they know the principles of right and wrong, only people who internalize these principles and fully apply them in their relationships with others may be considered moral.


How does this relate to criminal justice systems? Ideally, the American justice system is a system that seeks the truth. Acting in an ethical manner should be a prerequisite to all actions taken within the criminal justice system. Arrests must be made based on legally gained evidence. Witnesses in cases must be instructed to testify honestly. They cannot be induced to testify in return for some favor or monetary reward. The system is based on fairness at every level of federal, state, and local government. Due process must be afforded to all—those who are accused of committing a crime, witnesses to a crime, victims of a crime, and people found guilty of a committing a crime must be adjudicated in a fair and lawful manner.


Practical Applications and Questions


Knowledge of ethics theories and how they affect the criminal justice system is invaluable to the justice professional in the performance of his or her duties and responsibilities.


Consider the following questions:


  • What is meant by the terms ethics and morality? How are these terms manifested in criminal justice systems?

  • What are the basic concepts of ethical theories—such as utilitarianism, nonconsequentialism, naturalism, and deontological—and how do they relate to the criminal justice system?

  • What is meant by a good society and the ethics of virtue?

  • What is meant by the term deviance, and how does considering it as a crime affect criminal justice systems?


How Tools, Readings, and Simulations Help Solidify Concepts


This week’s reading materials, tools, and simulations provide students with resources to assess their ethical decision-making abilities. Ethical decision-making skills help students in their ability to consider the nature of ethics dilemmas, discover how alternative courses of action are developed, and evaluate the effects of ethical decision making on the criminal justice system.



During Week One, the basic strategies for ethical decision making in the criminal justice system are identified and explored. Several important ethical theories are introduced and discussed, including their relationship with the justice system.




Ethics. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary (11th ed.). Retrieved from


Morality. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary (11th ed.). Retrieved from

DXJAnswerMagic :

Got it! Thanks so much! DXJ



Page numbers followed by ‘

b’ indicate boxes, and ‘t

’ indicate tables.




American Bar Association

Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS), 367



Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences

American Bar Association (ABA), 132, 135,

142–143, 148–149

American Society of Criminology (ASC),


American Sociological Association, 351

Apologia, 63



American Society of Criminology


Bar complaint, 148–149

Bentham’s calculus, 14–15

Black defendant/black victim cases, 205

Brown decision, 73–74

Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), 319–320

Bush administration, 149


Canons of Police Ethics, 91

Capital Jury Project, 204

Capital punishment, 196–197

Chronic offenders, 185

Coerced-compliant false confession, 84

Coerced-internalized false confessions, 84–85

Community-oriented policing (COP), 64


compassionate and benevolent world, 29

conservation movement, 27

contemporary prisons, 30

injustice and psychological health, 29

Inner Corrections: Finding Peace and Peace


, 26

Kant’s expression, 27

metaphysical view, nonviolence, 30

“Mother Earth”, 27

notion of karma, 27–28



psychological health, 28–29

psychological and spiritual environment, 26

retribution/just desserts, 31

Zen story, 30–31

Consequentialist ethical theory, 13

Contemporary punishment, 183

Contingencies, 62–63



Community-oriented policing

Crime and justice myths

BJS, 319–320

crime control

criminal justice policies, 321–322

deterrence level, 322

punitive sentences, 322–323

crime control policy

arrest and conviction rates, 325

crime mythmakers and disseminators, 323

get-tough measures, 323

get-tough policies, 324–325

three-strikes laws, 324

war on drugs, 323

criminal justice system, 311

criminals, 320–321

drug suppliers, 318

FBI, 319–320

FDA, 318–319

FOAF, 311

general public, 317–318

government, politics, and crime myths

coddling criminals, 314–315

crime policy success, 316–317

crime reports, 316

criminal justice enforcement agencies, 314

drug control laws, 316

drug usage and trafficking, 315–316

mythmakers, 315

illegal drug dealers, 319

marijuana, 318–319


criminal justice interactions, 312–313

financial gain, 312–313

juvenile crime, 312

media sources and reality shows,


public perception, 314

societal interaction, 311

teasers, 311

myth definition, 310

policy-making process, 309

societal concerns, 311

street and corporate crime, 319

Crime, Shame, and Reintegration

, 168

Criminal justice

cases, convicted terrorists, 386

enforcement agencies, 314

Justice, Crime, and Ethics.




2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Criminal justice (



future ethics, 408

law and justice

art of treatment perspective, 407–408

correction, 406–408

criminal justice process, 404

policing, 405–406

mindfulness, 400–401

order keeping and peacemaking

crime and justice problem solving, 401

peacekeeping, 401–403

totalitarian society, 401


crime control, 321–322

public opinion, 309

suggestions, 403–404

system, 345–346

chain gangs, 293

criminal rehabilitation, 287

disproportionate minority prison populations,


prison conditions, 289–290

Criminal punishment

definition, 165

desert, 167–168

determinate and indeterminate

sentence, 172

deterrence, 166–167

equity, 171

ethical considerations, contemporary


discrimination, 175–177

honesty, 172–174

prediction, 174–175

incapacitation, 167

incarceration, 172

legislature, 171–172

penal harm movement, 172

reasons for, 166

reflex response, 165

restoration, 168

treatment/rehabilitation, 167




ethical dilemma, sentencing, 170

modified just deserts, 171

paradox of retribution, 169

penalty, 169, 170

restorative sentences, 170

reward and punishment concept,


utility, 169

Custodial interrogation, 76


Dead Bang Winner (DBW), 157

Dead Man Walking

, 208

Death penalty, 188, 190

arbitrariness, 205–206

death row, 206, 207


appeal process, 199

capital punishment, 197

certainty, 198–199

Peterson’s and Bailey’s view, 198

Scared Straight programs, 198

Sellin’s research, 197–198

discrimination and racial bias, 204–205

facts, 195

incapacitation, 184, 199–200

juror behavior, capital cases, 206–208

LWOP, 210

mistakes, 202–203

parole, murderers, 210

peacemaking perspective, 200–201

rationale, 196–200

religion and capital punishment, 208–209

retributive argument, 184

Scott Turow’s comments, 211

Deceptive interrogation techniques

crime normalization/minimization, 79

fabricated evidence, 77–78

identity misrepresentation, 79–80



interrogation, 76

Miranda warnings, 77

offense exaggeration, 78–79

promise usage, 80

role playing, 76–77

Defense attorney, 154, 202–203

Deontological ethics

categorical imperative, 17–18

definition, 16

good will, 16, 17

justice and duty, 21

utilitarianism, 18–19

Desert rationale, 167–168

Detainee Treatment Act, 386

Determinate sentencing schemes, 183–184


appeal process, 199

capital punishment, 197

certainty, 198–199

contemporary deterrence, 187

criminal punishment, 166–167

death penalty, 188

hedonistic calculus, 187






Peterson’s and Bailey’s view, 198

philosophy, 187

Scared Straight programs, 198

Sellin’s research, 197–198

severity and certainty, 188

two categories, 187


compassion and law enforcement, 95–96

core of police values, 61–62

definition, 95

evil/wrong act, 273

family dispute, 97

and freedom, 53

malfeasance, 272

misfeasance, 272

nonfeasance, 272–273

pattern, decision type, 271, 273


personal/professional relationship, 97–98

rules and regulations litany, 98

situational elements, 95

traffic violation, 96

Due process, 149

Duke University, 148–149


, 247–248


Embezzlement, 270

Ethical dilemmas, training police

andragogical approach, 94, 106–107

Canons of Police Ethics, 91


compassion and law enforcement, 95–96

definition, 95

family dispute, 97

personal/professional relationship, 97–98

rules and regulations litany, 98

situational elements, 95

traffic violation, 96

discretion and split-second judgments, 92

domestic violence laws, 104–105

duty, 98–99

ethical framework, 105

gratuities, 102–104


bribery, 101

fender benders, 100

integrity, 101

self-protection/enrichment, 99–100

testilying, 100–101

insubordination and legitimate ethical

intervention, 93

issue-based material, 94

loyalty, 101–102

pedagogical approach, 94

pre-service academy training, 93

public intoxication laws, 106

undercover tactics, 92–93

utilitarianism, 104, 105, 106

victim rights legislation, 104–105

Ethical problems

abuse of power, 152

deceitfulness, 153

denial of due process, 153

favoritism and bias, 152

flawed personal life, 152

neglect of duties, 153–154

personal gain, 151–152

Ethics and criminal justice research

deceive research participant, 356–357

ethical codes, 367–368

ethical/political considerations

alcoholics, 369

drug treatment facilities, 370

genetic influences, 369

police patrol and detective investigations,


professional research unit, 371

ethical scientific research, criminal justice and

criminology, 373

human participants, 352

IRB and ethical standards, 368

participant acts and self-respect

Milgram’s study, 359

passivity/aggression, 357–358

prisoners personal identity loss, 358

self-esteem, 359

participants benefits

Federal Judicial Center, 366

human decency and justice, 365

Minneapolis domestic violence experiment,


parens patriae

, 365


involvement, 353–354

participation, 354–355

physical/mental stress, 360

privacy and confidentiality, 361–362

professionalism tenets, 366


impact assessment, 363

intervention, 364

personnel, 363

public policy pronouncements and teaching,







Ethics and criminal justice research (



randomization consequences, 364–365

research design, 362–363

scientific and ethical concerns, 367

scientific research, 371–372

self-determination right violation, 359–360

social desirability effect, 356

street-level criminal justice officials, 351–352

Ethics and prison

chain gangs

discrimination and slavery, 293

human dignity, 294

money saver and tougher incarceration,


religious programming, 293

crack-market participation degree, 286–287

disproportionate minority prison populations,


elderly prisoners, 295

nonviolent offenders, 286


approach, 288

perspective, 298–299

prison conditions

amenities, 291

criminal justice system, 289–290

hard-labor prison, 289

pains/deprivations, 290

spartan prisons, 289


budgetary savings, 296

civil service system, 296

clients selection, 298

General Accounting Office study, 297

salary, 297–298

property crime, 286

safety/security, 294–295



utilitarianism, 298–299

violent crime conviction, 285–286

women, 296

Ethics, crime, and justice

awareness, 6, 7

coercion process, 8

critical thinking and analytical skills, 7–8

definition of ethics, 3–4

developing wholesight, 8

moral beliefs and values, 7

moral paralysis, 3–4

personal responsibility, 8

poverty and discrimination, 3

sense of community, 4

three contexts

criminal justice process, 5–6

personal context, 4

social context, 4, 5

Ethics investigation, 148–149


False confessions, 83–85

False negative error, 174

False positive error, 174

Federal automotive standard, 344

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

agents, 319

crime rates, 319–320

crime reports, 316

Federal Judicial Center

program evaluation, 366

randomization consequence, 364–365

Federal prison system

elderly prisoners, 295

religious programming, 293

violent crimes and drug offenders, 285–286

Field training officer (FTO), 56–57

Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 318–319

Force and physical coercion, 11

Ford Motor Company’s prosecution, Pinto case

blame assessment

corporate misbehavior, 335

engulfed flames, 334

gasoline soakage, 334–335

gas tank placement and fuel leakage, 335

Pinto car potential damage, 335

reckless homicide offence, 335–336

reckless homicide statute, 337–338

safety-related defects, 336–337

social responsibility, 337

chronic anomie, 333

civil rights movement, 333


decision making, 343–344

malfeasance, 333–334

emotional advantage, 343

ethical regulation, 333

Ford defense team, 342

Ford’s failure, 342

fraudulent Medicaid schemes, 331–332

hazards, 345

high-velocity collision, 344

justice and moral right, 332

legitimacy crisis, 333

low-speed crash test, 343

moral boundaries, corporate behavior, 346

public awareness, 331






public concern, 346

reckless homicide trial

burn injury, rear-end collisions, 338

constitutional barriers, 340

consumer confidence, car, 338

ex post facto

application, 340

Indiana criminal code, 339–340

national and legal ramification, 338–339

reckless homicide definition, 339–340

unsafe product, 341

upper-world lawlessness, 346

Friend of a friend (FOAF), 311



Field training officer

Furman case, 199–200

Future ethics

justice and peace, 399–400

mindfulness, 400


General Accounting Office study, 297

General deterrence, 166, 187

Get-tough policy

minority neighborhoods, 324–325

social and financial costs, 324


Hedonistic utilitarianism, 13

Higher education programs, 11

Hired guns, 154


average offender, 172–173

convicted offender, 172–173

critics, 173

drug offenders, 173

good time, 173

truth in sentencing movement, 172–173,


violent offender, 172–173

Hypothetical imperatives, 17



criminal punishment, 167

death penalty, 199–200

Incentives, 275–277

Indeterminate sentences, 183

Institutional review boards (IRB), 368–369

Instrumental value, 46

Intensive supervision

electronic monitoring, 224, 225

offenders’ concern, 226

officer concerns, 225–226

prison population, 223–224

punitive and risk-control conditions, 224

truth, advertising issue, 223–224




Institutional review boards


Judge shopping, 154


Kant, Immanuel (deontologist), 16


Law and justice


art of treatment perspective, 407–408

attitude, 408

process, 406–407

treatment, 407

criminal justice process, 404

policing, 405–406

Lawyer, Atticus Finch

To Kill a Mockingbird

, 131

lawyer/client relationship

client-centered/friend role, 134

Cohen’s argument, 132–133

Condlin, attorney’s ethical dilemma, 133–134

Granfield and Koenig, law school ethics, 134

guru/godfather role, 134

hired-gun role, 134

jurisprudence, 133–134

Model Rules, 132–133

Powell’s point, 132–133

role-based morality, 134

Scheingold’s argument, 134–135

Smith, zealous advocacy, 134

Wishman, alleged brutal rape and sodomy,


legal advocate


moral agent, 131–132

Professional Conduct

ABA, 135

active role, 140

attorney’s inclination, 136

client’s participation, decision making, 135

Colorado Bar Association’s Rule 8.4, 140

criminal/fraudulent activity, 136

ethics of care, 138

ethics of rights, 138

incompetence/negligence, 135

moral dialogues, 138

passive role, 140

perjury, 139–140

privilege abandonment, 137

Rule 1.6, 136

DXJAnswerMagic :



Lawyer, Atticus Finch (



Rule 2.1, 138

Rule 3.1, 139

Rule 3.4, 141

substantial emotional injury, 138

utilitarian and deontological rationales, 137

wrongful incarceration/execution, 138

zealous defense strategies, 141

professional courtesy, 131

prosecutor, 141–142

Life without parole (LWOP), 196–197


Malfeasance, 272

Meditation, 35–37

Military Commissions Act

controversial issues, 381

military commissions and torture memos, 386

process deficiencies, 380–381

uniform code, military justice, 387

Miranda warnings, 72, 73, 74, 77

Mirroring, 76–77

Misfeasance, 272


National Crime Victimization Survey, 316

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

(NHTSA), 336–337

National Science Foundation, 351

National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, 340

New Age movements, 25



National Highway Traffic Safety


Nolle prosequi

, 155, 156

Nonfeasance, 272–273

Normative ethics, 12–13


Occupational predisposition, 46–47, 48, 50


Pains of imprisonment, 268, 275

Parole board, 200

Peacemaking perspective, 298–299

see also

Restorative justice and


approach, 288


confucianism, 33

feminine approach, 32–33

fundamental rule of morality, 32

humanity and righteousness, 33

masculine approach, 32

moral reasoning, 34

natural caring, 33

transpersonal psychology, 34


compassionate and benevolent world, 29

conservation movement, 27

contemporary prisons, 30

injustice and psychological health, 29

Inner Corrections: Finding Peace and Peace


, 26

Kant’s expression, 27

metaphysical view, nonviolence, 30

“Mother Earth”, 27

notion of karma, 27–28



psychological health, 28–29

psychological and spiritual environment, 26

retribution/just desserts, 31

Zen story, 30–31

death penalty, 200–201

mercy and compassion, 25–26

mindfulness, 35–37

New Age movements, 25

order keeping

crime and justice problem solving, 401

peacekeeping, 401–403

totalitarian society, 401

rehabilitation and redemption, 25

Police ethics, legal proselytism, and social order

paradoxical roles, 112–113

self-determination, 112

social service agency, 111–112

unethical conduct, 111–112

appeal to higher loyalties, 123

black-and-white morality, 113–114, 115–116

cognitive dissonance and social stigma, 118

collective responsibility, 123–124

condemnation, 122–123

denial of injury, 120–121

denial of responsibility, 119, 120

economic power canonization, 116

formality, precision, and unambiguous nature,


government restrictions and intrusions,


heroic exceptionality, 114, 115

identical legal infractions, 118

legal privileges, 117

manipulation and situational application, 118

narcotics investigations, 117

neutralization, 119, 120–121, 122–123

RICO Act, 116

segregation and racism, 120

self-perception, 115






slave code enforcement, 115

slogans and metaphors, 114

substantive laws, 117–118

unique opportunity for deviance, 114

use-of-force continuum, 119–120

victims and victimization, 121–122

way of thinking, 113

Police interrogation, deception

brutality and torture, 71–72

brute force elimination, 73

classification, 75

crime control








embezzlement, 270

employee misconduct, 268

incentives, 275–277

legal option

American Bar Association, 280–281

bad apples, 279

PREA, 280

sexual misconduct, 280

misuse of authority, 270–271

opportunities, 274–275




Problem-oriented policing


Prison conditions

amenities, 291

criminal justice system, 289–290

hard-labor prison, 289

pains/deprivations, 290

spartan prisons, 289

Prison corruption and control

allegations investigation, 270

controlling, 277–279

correctional system, 267–268

corruption, correctional environment, 269

deprivation of liberty, 266


evil/wrong act, 273

malfeasance, 272

misfeasance, 272

nonfeasance, 272–273

pattern, decision type, 271, 273


interrogation, 76


judicial intervention, 72, 73

Miranda warnings, 72, 73, 74, 77

offense exaggeration, 78–79

promise usage, 80

psychological coercion control, 73–74

reliability, 74–75

coerced-compliant false confession, 84

coerced-internalized false confessions,


deceit and lying, 83

exculpatory evidence, 82–83

reasonable suspicion/probable cause, 82–83

Reid technique, 82

voluntary false confession, 84

role playing, 76–77

voluntariness, 74–75

Police officers learning ethics

characteristics, 45

COP, 64

core of police values

discretion, 61–62

force, 59–60

fringe benefits, 61

justice, 61

loyalty, 60–61

time, 60

democratic process, 49–50

formal education and socialization, 45

moral career, 62–63

POP, 64

recruitment and selection process, 49, 54

social construction, 50–51

SOPs, 64

value-predisposition perspective

conservatism and conformity, 47–48

crime fighting, 49

noble cause, efficiency, and utilitarianism,


perceived legitimacy, 49–50

personnel selection techniques, 47

police personality, 46–47

values and value systems, 46

values-learned perspective

black swans, 55

discretion and freedom, 53

encounter, 55–58

formal and informal instruction, 54–55

group cohesion and solidarity, 54

latent content, 55

manifest content, 55

metamorphosis, 58–59

organizational socialization, 51–53

police personnel selection system, 53

professionalization, 51–53, 54

war stories, 55

working/police personality, 51–53



due process and ethical


orientation, 81–82

crime normalization/minimization, 79

empirical analysis, 86

ethics and dilemmas, 80–81

fabricated evidence, 77–78

fairness, 74–75

free will, 74–75

identity misrepresentation, 79–80



Prison corruption and control (



pains of imprisonment, 268

politics, 274

scandals, 266

staff sexual misconduct, 271

trafficking, 270

transformation process, 266–267

Prison privatization

budgetary savings, 296

civil service system, 296

clients selection, 298

General Accounting Office study, 297

salary, 297–298

Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), 280

Privatization, 188, 189–190

agencies, 226–229

budgetary savings, 296

civil service system, 296

clients selection, 298

General Accounting Office study, 297

opponents, 227

profit motive, 227

proponents, 227

salary, 297–298

Probation and parole

acceptable penal content, 222–223

community corrections, 221–222

corruption, 230–231

ethical choices, 217–218

intensive supervision

electronic monitoring, 224, 225

offenders’ concern, 226

officer concerns, 225–226

prison population, 223–224

punitive and risk-control conditions,


truth, advertising issue, 223–224


criminal behavior, 219

definition, 218

peacemaking perspective, 219–220

punishment-oriented philosophy, 218

restorative justice model, 219

risk assessments, 220

voting rights, 220


agencies, 226–228

opponents, 227

profit motive, 227

proponents, 227

supervision programs, sex offenders, 229

volunteers, 229–230

Problem-oriented policing (POP), 64

Prosecutor misconduct


, 158–159

DBW, 157

Donovan, U.S. Secretary of Labor, 150

Duke Lacrosse Case, 148–149

ethical failings

defense attorneys, 154

exercising discretion, 155–156

hired guns, 154

mission and duties, 154

plea bargaining, 155–156

ethical problems

abuse of power, 152

deceitfulness, 153

denial of due process, 153

favoritism and bias, 152

flawed personal life, 152

neglect of duties, 153–154

personal gain, 151–152

firing of federal prosecutors, 149–150

Gershman’s view, 157–158

motivation, 157

politics, public, and media, 156–157

snitches, 156

special and unique obligations, 159–160

The Thin Blue Line Case

, 150–151


See also

Criminal punishment

definitions, 181–182

deontology, 182

deterrence, 187–188

ethical dilemmas, 189–190

incapacitation, 184–185

major justifications, 182–183

peacemaking, 182

philosophical punishment literature, 182

rehabilitation, 186–187

religion and capital, 208–209

retribution, 183–184

unintended consequences, 188–189

utilitarianism, 182


Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations

(RICO) Act, 116

Randomization, participants

consequences, 364–365

ethical burden, 366

experimental or control group, 363

governmental objective, 364

program personnel, 363

research design, 362–363






Reid technique, 82

Restorative justice and peacemaking

caring, 243–244

connectedness, 243

core elements

accountability, 252

collaboration, 252–253

empowerment, 253

encounter, 251–252

ethical concerns, 253, 254


healing process, 251

number of values, 251, 252


personal and context, 250–251

principles, 251, 251


reintegration, 253

resolution, 253

evolution, 241–242

mindfulness, 244–245

precarious balance, 258–259

quality, 240


actions and responsibility, 239

community involvement, justice process, 240

reconciliation, offenders, 238–239

self-honesty and courage, 240–241

victims, feel, 239–240, 241

types, 253–258

family group conferencing, 255–256

reintegrative shaming, 258

reparative boards, 257

sentencing circles, 256

victim/offender panels, 257

victim/offender reconciliation programs, 256

virtues, 237–238, 238


wisdom traditions

Buddhism, 247–248

Christianity, 245

communication, 249–250

completeness/wholeness, 246

Islamic, 248

Jewish, 246

Native American talking circles, 249, 250


Native American thought, 248–249

reconciliation process, 245–246

Taoism, 246–247

themes and beliefs, 250

Restorative justice sentencing, 168

Retribution, 242

see also



Selective prosecution, 155–156

Severe punishment, 185

Social desirability effect, 356





Terminal value, 46

Terrorism and justice

Abu Ghraib

abuse Acts, 384–385

abuses, 383–384

interrogation methods, 385

military prison, harsh methods, 383–384

Taguba report, 384

civil liberties, 393

The 9/11 Commission Report


The 9/11 Commission Report



Unethical conduct, 111–112

appeal to higher loyalties, 123

black-and-white morality, 113–114, 115–116


, 377–378


Theories of justice, 12

Three-strikes laws, 185


, 377–378


criminal justice system, terrorists, 386

federal criminal justice system, 388

Guanta´namo bay

FBI, 385

inmates degrading treatment, 385

International Red Cross, 385–386

handling terrorists, 387

military commissions and torture memos, 386

Miranda rights, 388

Obama approach, Guanta´namo facility,


system of justice, terrorists

federal courts approach, 391

military approach, 390

Tehrik-e-Taliban, 390

times square bomb, 390–393

terrorism legal definition, 378

warfare, 388

war strategy

ethical issues, 380

harsh interrogation and torture memos,


military commissions, 380–381

military force, 378–379

military system of justice, 380

terrorism definition, 379

torture memos, 381–382


Standard operating procedures


Specific deterrence, 166, 187

Standard operating procedures (SOPs), 64, 73–74

State of Vermont, 168

Subculture, 45, 46, 56, 57, 59


Desert rationale














Unethical conduct (



cognitive dissonance and social stigma, 118

collective responsibility, 123–124

condemnation, 122–123

denial of injury, 120–121

denial of responsibility, 119, 120

denial of victim, 121–122

economic power canonization, 116

formality, precision, and unambiguous

nature, 117

government restrictions and intrusions,


heroic exceptionality, 114, 115

identical legal infractions, 118

legal privileges, 117

manipulation and situational application, 118

narcotics investigations, 117

neutralization, 119, 120–121, 122–123

RICO Act, 116

segregation and racism, 120

self-perception, 115

slave code enforcement, 115

slogans and metaphors, 114

substantive laws, 117–118

unique opportunity for deviance, 114

use-of-force continuum, 119–120

way of thinking, 113

Universalizability, 17


Utilitarianism, 48–49

Bentham’s calculus, 14–15

community context, 14

consequentialist ethical theory, 13


deontology, 18–19

ethical dilemmas, training police, 104, 105, 106

fundamental principle of morality, 15

happiness/pleasure, 13, 14

hedonistic utilitarianism, 13

justice and duty

conflicting duties, 20–21

gang-rape cases, 20

injustice, 19, 20

slavery and oppression, 19–20

utilitarian Kantian principle, 21

weakness, 20

pleasurable consequences, 15

Utilitarian Kantian principle, 21


Violence-control therapy, 360

Voluntariness, 74–75

Voluntary false confession, 84


War on drugs

crime control efforts, 323

marijuana, 318–319

Wisdom traditions

Buddhism, 247–248

Christianity, 245

communication, 249–250

completeness/wholeness, 246

Islamic, 248

Jewish, 246

Native American talking circles, 249, 250


Native American thought, 248–249

reconciliation process, 245–246

Taoism, 246–247

themes and beliefs, 250


Zealousness, prosecution, 154







Vision brings a new appreciation of what there is. It makes a person see

things differently rather than see different things.

—Herbert Guenther

Our personal and social values shape and color the way we perceive the world

in which we live. While we are concerned with achieving personal goals and

ambitions, we also come to realize at a rather early age that the needs and

desires of others are also forces to be reckoned with. The question for us then

becomes one of reconciling the pursuit of our individual dreams within the

context of the larger community. Maintaining our individual integrity, our

personal sense of right and wrong, and, at the same time, conforming to what

is best for the majority of persons in our society can often become a

perplexing challenge. Yet we are all connected to each other in one way or

another—parents and children, inmates with correctional staff. We are even

connected to our physical environment, as evidenced in the quality of air we


breathe and water we drink. As potential criminal justice practitioners, our

professional choices and policies will emanate from our personal beliefs and

values—from our personal philosophies. How much do we care about trying to

honestly and effectively address the pressing justice issues of the day? Are we

truly mindful of the ways we are connected to our problems? Do we have a

long-term as well as short-term sense of what the costs of our proposed

solutions will be?

Cultivating a greater understanding of our own philosophical perspectives

can provide us with a foundation for making more informed decisions about

the diverse social issues we face and the way our system of justice responds

to such issues.


Ethics, crime, and justice:

An introductory note to students


Michael C. Braswell





As you approach the study of ethics, crime, and justice, it is important that you

view your study as a search, journey, or exploration. This search in many ways will

yield more questions than answers. It is a creative endeavor in which a number of

your beliefs and assumptions will be challenged. Questions such as “Can moral or

ethical behavior be illegal and legal actions be immoral?” and “Can we have a

more equitable criminal justice system without addressing social problems such

as poverty and discrimination?” will test the limits of your personal values and

beliefs (Braswell & LaFollette, 1988). This study will also encompass a variety

of disciplines that contribute to criminal justice, including law, economics, psychology,

sociology, philosophy, and theology. For the purposes of our exploration

we will use the terms

ethical and moral


What is ethics? In a general sense, ethics is the study of right and wrong, good

and evil. Who decides what is right and wrong? What one person may believe is

right, another person may feel is wrong. Our beliefs and values regarding right

and wrong and good and evil are shaped by our parents and friends, by the communities

we are a part of, and by our own perceptions. Codes of conduct are also

influenced by the law and our religious beliefs. Professional organizations involving

such areas as law, medicine, and criminal justice also offer professional codes

of ethics as a benchmark for people who fulfill those professional roles. This study

involves all aspects of who we are—our minds, hearts, relationships with each

other, and the intentions and motives for our actions regarding both our inner

and outer environment. We are inclined to believe that ethical persons act in good

or right ways, whereas unethical people commit evil acts and other forms of

wrongdoing. Then again, it is not only a matter of a person acting “unethically”;

also at issue are people who could chose to do good but instead do nothing, allowing

others to do evil. So it is not simply a matter of my committing an evil or

Justice, Crime, and Ethics.




2012 Elsevier Inc.. All rights reserved.


wrongful act, it is also a matter of my being an indirect accomplice to evil

by silently standing by, letting evil occur when I could stand for what is right.

As a result, unethical acts can occur by the commission of wrongdoing or by

omission—by allowing wrongdoing to occur. Thomas Merton (as quoted in

Woods, 1966), in examining a fundamental problem of omission, wrote that “moral

paralysis leaves us immobile, inert, passive, tongue-tied, ready and even willing to


The study of justice and ethics, of the good and evil we do to each other, also

involves a sense of community. We often hear that problems of crime and violence

are the result of a breakdown in family and community values. What does our

community consist of? Our community includes our family, our neighbors—even

the land on which we grow food to eat and the air we breathe. Is it important that

we act in ethical ways regarding our physical environment as well as with regard to

people with whom we come in contact? Within our community of interdependent

parts exist three contexts, or perspectives, that can help us approach a better understanding

of justice, crime, and ethics.



A way of understanding the idea of justice in human experience is to think of it as

a process that moves within three contexts or concentric circles (see Figure 1.1).

The first context or innermost circle is the


, which represents our individual

sense of justice. This context examines right and wrong, good and evil—life

experienced and lived, for better or worse, from the inside out. My life experiences

come to form a set of perceptions, some easily changed and others being very

resistant to change, that form my personal sense of justice—my way of looking

out into the world as a safe or dangerous place, with hope or with despair.

The second circle represents the social context of


. This circle includes

all that is the world without—the physical environment I live in, whether rural,

urban, or suburban, and the people with whom I interact through choice or necessity.

I may live in a relatively just or unjust community. I may live as an oppressed

member of my community, or I may act as the oppressor. During our lifetimes,

perhaps on one occasion or another, and in one way or another, we will taste the

experience of both.

People do not commit crimes in isolation. Crimes also require circumstances

and victims. Crimes are related to social circumstances and conditions as well as

being subject to the law and criminal justice system. Why did the abused wife kill

her husband? In the broader social context, we might look at the abuse she suffered

before she made her husband a victim of a homicide. What was her relationship to

her parents and other family members? What about her neighbors? Did she have

access to adequate social and support services? Could something have been done

to prevent her own victimization and thus her subsequent crime?


The social context of ethics suggests that we cannot be concerned with criminals

only after they have committed crimes but must also better understand the

conditions and environments that encourage people to become criminals, whether

such offenders physically rape their victims or economically violate them through

such means as stock market fraud. We also need to remember that offenders who

are incarcerated in prisons typically return to the communities from whence they

came, whether they become rehabilitated or more criminalized.

The social context is not concerned merely with how we judge others as being

good or evil but also how we judge ourselves in relationship to others. Frederick

Buechner (1973) writes, “We are judged by the face that looks back at us from

the bathroom mirror. We are judged by the faces of the people we love and by

the faces and lives of our children and by our dreams. Each day finds us at the

junction of many roads, and we are judged as much by the roads we have not taken

as by the roads we have.”

The third context we can use in our efforts to better understand justice, crime,

and ethics is perhaps the most specific one; it centers around the


process. Too often, the criminal justice process is the only context or perspective

we consider. It is important that we include both the personal and social contexts

of ethics in exploring the criminal justice process. Due process, police corruption,

and punishment are examples of important issues that require us to consider personal

beliefs, social factors, and criminal justice consequences simultaneously.

For example, I explore any new law being proposed regarding the punishment of

offenders in terms of my personal beliefs. How does this proposed law square with

my own value system? How do I feel about it? The proposed law also should be

examined on the basis of how it will affect the social community. Is it just and fair



criminal justice


Three Contexts for Understanding Justice, Crime, and Ethics.


criminal justice


to all parts and groups within the community? Will it contribute to the community’s

sense of safety and security, or is it perhaps more of a public relations or

election-year gimmick? Can the criminal justice process and system effectively

implement the law? Are there adequate resources to finance and manage the

changes that will occur in the system as the result of the proposed law?

The criminal justice context also sets legal limits for what we can do to each

other. Those of us who inflict harm on others may experience legal consequences

ranging from fines to imprisonment or even having to forfeit our lives. Sometimes

what is legal is also what is right or good, but that is not the primary function of

criminal justice. We need to remember that our justice system, due to existing laws

and community attitudes, may also support tyrants or various forms of injustice and

corruption on occasion, leading to suffering and oppression in our communities. Our

personal and communal sense of morality (what is right and wrong) may often stand

outside the limits of the law. In fact, some politicians often seem to confuse what is

moral with what is legal. For example, although gambling may be illegal, a given

community may consider it desirable and ignore the law, even demonstrating a sense

of collective pride in such activities. In addition, during one period of our history, it

was considered illegal for women or minorities to vote or to help people who were

enslaved escape to freedom. In such cases, what was legal was immoral and what

was moral was illegal. Some of us did what was right and good at great peril and

personal cost during such times, even though we broke the law. Others of us

remained responsible, law-abiding citizens and, by omitting to do the good we could

have done, allowed others to experience unimaginable suffering and injustice.

It is important to note that each of the circles are more like membranes than

concrete lines of demarcation. Like ocean tides, they bend and flow with each

other, remaining distinct but always connected and interacting. Finally, the area

beyond the third context represents the




The initial goal for exploring ethics is to become more aware and open to moral

and ethical issues.


. From our personal beliefs and


values to our social relations and interaction within and outside the rule of law—

all are subject to the effects of the unknown. We may call it coincidence, luck, fate,

destiny, or the will of God. Whatever we call it, the outcome of our individual

lives as well as the fate of our larger community includes an air of mystery, of

the unexpected—sometimes welcomed and other times feared. What we can count

on is that if we act as ethical people of integrity we will increase the odds that we

will work and live in responsible and caring communities where the chance for

justice will be greater for all who live there.

In addition to examining our study of ethics from a personal, social, and criminal

justice context, it is also useful to identify several specific goals as we begin to

explore issues regarding justice, crime, and ethics.


As we try to become more aware of ethical issues, we will discover a number of

contradictions in our moral beliefs and values. We will find that there is often a

difference between appearances and reality, that things are often not what they

seem. What we are taught as children may be challenged by our adult experiences.

As a result, some choices seem clearly to be right or wrong, whereas other events

seem more ambiguous and less certain.

A part of our becoming more open includes our learning to be more aware of

the full range and nature of moral and ethical issues—from telling a small lie to

committing perjury, from cheating on one’s income taxes to engaging in major

bank fraud. This broad range of moral issues reminds us that where justice is

concerned, personal values, social consequences, and criminal justice outcomes

are often intertwined.

As we become more open to moral and ethical issues, it is important that we

approach our second goal, which is

to begin developing critical thinking and analytical



As young children, we were often creative, as evidenced by our active imaginations.

As we grew older, we learned to stand in line, follow instructions, and be

seen more than heard when it came to the process of learning. In a word, we

learned to become obedient. Over time, we began to lose confidence in our point

of view as being anything of value. In such a context, as students, we are inclined

to become more interested in asking


rather than why, in becoming more like

technicians rather than philosophers. However, Albert Einstein (as quoted in

Castle, 1988), in discussing science and creativity, suggested that “[t]o raise new

questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative

imagination and marks real advances in science.” In other words, if we do not

first ask the right questions, our solutions, no matter how well-intended and efficient,

simply add to our difficulties. Asking why, then, is an important aspect of

developing critical thinking and analytical skills.

Asking meaningful questions requires clarity in our thinking and a sense of

mindfulness as we explore moral and ethical issues. Critical thinking and analytical

skills help us distinguish concepts such as justice and liberty from principles such

as “the ends do not justify the means.” For example, we might discuss capital punishment

both as a concept and in principle. However, our critical thinking and analytical

skills will allow us to go even further as we search for the truth regarding

capital punishment. What are the short-term and long-term costs of such a sanction?

How does it affect our criminal justice system and our society in general?

What will future generations think about our decisions, laws, and policies regarding

capital punishment? Although we may never be able to arrive at a perfect position

on capital punishment, critical thinking and analytical skills can aid us in

exploring more openly and with more integrity the various issues surrounding it.

These skills encourage openness and perseverance rather than blind acceptance

and obedience based on ignorance.

There will always be disagreement on such issues as capital punishment. As

with any moral issue, there is a cost for the attitudes we hold and the choices we


make; there is inevitably an upside and a downside, a pro and a con. As we explore

such issues, critical thinking and analytical skills can help us see more clearly what

the costs will be.

Becoming more open to moral and ethical issues and developing critical thinking

and analytical skills will help us more fully realize our third goal:


more personally responsible.

Before we can become more responsible, we must

increase our ability to respond. The first two goals aid us in this endeavor. As

we persevere in an open exploration and search for the truth regarding moral and

ethical issues, we will feel more empowered and have more hope for the future.

A fourth goal of our ethics education is that we

understand how criminal justice

is engaged in a process of coercion

. Giving tickets to drivers who exceed the speed

limit and sentencing serious offenders to prison are examples of this process. In

exploring the morality of coercion, we come to realize that, in large part, criminal

justice is about forcing people to do things they do not want to do. Having the

authority to be coercive, combined with the discretionary nature of such authority,

together create the potential for corruption and abuse. Can you think of any examples

where the coercive role of police, courts, or corrections could be corrupted?

On a more personal level, how might parental or peer influences exercise coercion

in an unethical way (Sherman, 1981)?

The fifth goal of our exploration concerns what Parker Palmer (1983) refers to


developing wholesight.

It is important that we become more open to moral and

ethical issues, that we develop critical thinking and analytical skills, that we

increase our sense of personal responsibility, and that we understand the morality

of coercion. Yet all of these abilities and skills need to be tempered by our intuitive

nature. We need to explore these issues not only with our minds but also with our

hearts. Our mind or intellect can often become more preoccupied with immediate

problems and how to solve them. The heart asks why and looks not only to the

immediate dilemma but also to the deeper level of difficulty, and it asks what

the costs might be in the long run. Wholesight creates a vision in which our minds

and hearts, our thinking and feeling, work together for the common good as we

explore the ethical and moral issues that we as individuals and as members of a

community face.

The following sections of this book will introduce you to some of the philosophical

theories that can provide a framework for you to study and analyze ethical

and moral issues in crime and justice. The police, courts, and corrections, which



Develop greater awareness of moral/ethical issues.


Develop critical thinking/analytical skills.


Become personally responsible.


Understand coercion in criminal justice.



Develop wholesight.


comprise the criminal justice system, will be explored in the light of ethical concerns.

Criminal justice research and crime control policy will also be examined.

Finally, a justice ethic for the future is offered for your consideration. What kind

of future do you want to be a part of? What price are you willing to pay?


Braswell, M., & LaFolette, H. (1988). Seeking justice: The advantages and disadvantages of

being educated.

American Journal of Criminal Justice

, (Spring), 135–147.

Buechner, F. (1973).

Wishful thinking

. New York: Harper & Row.

Castle, T. (Ed.), (1988).

The new book of christian quotations

(p. 52). New York:


Palmer, P. (1983).

To know as we are known

. San Francisco: Harper & Row.

Sherman, L. W. (1981).

The study of ethics in criminology and criminal justice

(p. 181).

Chicago: Joint Commission on Criminology and Criminal Justice Education and


Woods, R. (Ed.), (1966).

The world treasury of religious quotations

(p. 647). New York:




Define and discuss the term ethics

from your own perspective.


Explain what ethics is using the three contexts presented in this chapter for

understanding justice, crime, and ethics.


Explain the five goals of exploring ethics and the impact that each has on the







That's the end of chapther 1


Utilitarian and deontological

approaches to criminal

justice ethics


Jeffrey Gold


categorical imperative



hypothetical imperative

John Stuart Mill

Immanuel Kant

normative ethics


use of force

utilitarian calculus


Over the past 15 to 20 years, interest in professional ethics has grown steadily.

Business ethics, medical ethics, and environmental ethics are all flourishing as

components in most college and university curricula. Despite this fact, until

recently, “higher education programs in criminology and criminal justice have

largely neglected the systematic study of ethics” (Sherman, 1981:7). This is unfortunate

because the ethical issues that arise in the area of criminal justice are significant

and complex (Braswell, Pollock, & Braswell, 2007; Pollock, 2004; Souryal,

2010). Furthermore, even though many of the ethical issues that arise in criminal

justice are common to other professions, there are other issues that are specifically

tailored to criminology and criminal justice. The most significant example, as mentioned

in Chapter 1, involves the use of force and physical coercion. Sherman

points out: “Force is the essence of criminal justice

. . .

. The decisions of whether

to use force, how much to use, and under what conditions are confronted by police

officers, juries, judges, prison officials, probation and parole officers and others.

All of them face the paradox

. . .

of using harm to prevent harm” (Sherman,

1981:30). Because the use of force is central to criminal justice, this distinguishes

criminal justice from other professions.

Justice, Crime, and Ethics.




2012 Elsevier Inc.. All rights reserved.


seeking the universal characteristic that all just or virtuous actions have in



Just as all squares, no matter how large they are or what color they

are, have something in common (four equal sides and four right angles), the ethical

theorist wants to know if all morally right actions (whether they are cases of

honesty, charity, or benevolence) also have something in common. If such a

common characteristic is found, it is held to be the ground or foundation or fundamental

principle of ethics. We shall now turn to our study of two standard ethical

theories in an effort to locate such a foundation for ethics.


The most famous version of utilitarianism was developed in Great Britain in the

eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by Jeremy Bentham (1970) and John Stuart

Mill (1979). Utilitarianism is classified as a consequentialist ethical theory. In

other words, the utilitarian holds that we judge the morality of an action in terms

of the consequences or results of that action. Mill states: “All action is for the sake

of some end, and rules of action, it seems natural to suppose, must take their whole

character and color from the end to which they are subservient” (p. 2). The insight

that motivates consequentialism is this: A moral action produces something good;

an immoral action produces a bad or harmful result. Put in the simplest possible

way, cheating, stealing, and murder are all wrong because they produce bad or

harmful consequences, and charity and benevolence are good because they produce

something beneficial. To summarize, the consequentialist holds that the morality of

an action is determined by the consequences of that action—actions that are moral

produce good consequences, actions that are immoral produce bad consequences.

At this point, two questions come up: (1) What do we mean by good consequences

(and bad consequences)? (2) Consequences for whom? Actions have consequences

for many different people. Which people should we consider when

contemplating the consequences of our actions? By giving concrete answers to

these two questions, the utilitarian carves out a unique and specific version or type

of consequentialist moral theory.

To explain utilitarianism, we shall begin with the first question: How does the

utilitarian define or characterize good and bad consequences? The most famous

version of utilitarianism (the one advocated by Bentham and Mill) is called



. According to Mill, the fundamental good that all humans seek

is happiness. Aristotle agrees with that point, even though he is not a utilitarian.

In his discussion of the highest good, Aristotle (350


) says: “As far as its name

is concerned, most people would agree: for both the common run of people and

cultivated men call it happiness.” Mill (1979) holds that “there is in reality nothing

desired except happiness” (p. 37). Mill’s view is that all people desire happiness,

and everything else they desire is either a part of happiness or a means to happiness.

Thus, the basic and fundamental good, according to hedonistic utilitarianism

(hereafter called


), is happiness.






According to both Bentham and Mill, happiness is identified by pleasure. Mill

(1979) claims: “By happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain; by

unhappiness, pain and the privation of pleasure” (p. 7). In his discussion of pleasure,

Mill includes not only the pleasures of food, drink, and sex but also intellectual

and aesthetic pleasures. In fact, Mill considers the “higher order” pleasures,

that is, the intellectual, emotional, and aesthetic pleasures that nonhuman animals

are not capable of experiencing, to be of a higher quality than the “lower order”

pleasures that many species of animals experience. The pleasures of poetry and

opera are, in Mill’s view, qualitatively superior to the pleasures of drinking and

playing pinball.

Consequentialism holds that the morality of an action is determined by the consequences

produced by the action. For the utilitarian, the morally right action produces

happiness (pleasure and the absence of pain) and the morally wrong action

produces unhappiness (pain and suffering). Mill (1979) states: “The creed which

accepts as the foundation of morals ‘utility’ or ‘the greatest happiness principle’

holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong

as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness” (p. 7). Bentham (1970) states,

“By the principle of utility is meant that principle which approves or disapproves

of every action whatsoever, according to the tendency which it appears to have

to augment or diminish the happiness of the party whose interest is in question:

or, what is the same thing in other words, to promote or to oppose the happiness”

(p. 2). Before we examine the theory with any more sophistication, we can already

feel its intuitive appeal. Why do we think that murder, rape, cheating, and lying are

immoral? Because those actions cause pain to the victims and the families of the

victims. Why do we think that charity and benevolence are righteous actions?

Because they produce pleasure or happiness.

Let us now move to the second question. Because utilitarianism holds that we

ought to produce happiness or pleasure, whose happiness or pleasure ought we to

consider? After all, the thief gets a certain amount of pleasure from a successful

burglary. The utilitarian answer to this question is that we ought to consider all

parties affected by the action and calculate the pain and pleasure of everyone

who is influenced. After due consideration, the action that is morally correct is

the one that produces the greatest good (amount of happiness) for the greatest number

of people. If all the alternatives involve more pain than pleasure, the morally

right action is the one that produces the least amount of pain.

For example, the thief wants money to accord himself a certain lifestyle. Stealing

will bring him jewelry or other valuable items that he can trade for money that

will make him feel good. However, such actions would also have another consequence:

Those persons who were stolen from would become victims, with the

accompanying feelings of sorrow, anger, or perhaps even fear. As a result, their

pain outweighs the thief’s pleasure. “The greatest good for the greatest number”

creates the context for community. The proportionality of pain and pleasure must

be judged in this context.

In calculating the amount of pleasure and pain produced by any action, many

factors are relevant. Bentham (1970:29–32) creates a hedonistic calculus in which


he lists those factors. I shall briefly describe some of the major elements in Bentham’s

calculus. First, we must consider the intensity or strength of the pleasure

or pain. A minor inconvenience is much less important than a major trauma. We

must also consider the duration of the pleasure or pain. For example, in the case

of a rape, psychological scars may last a lifetime. Additionally, we must consider

the long-term consequences of an action. Certain actions may produce short-term

pleasures but in the long run may prove to be more harmful than good (e.g., alcohol

and drugs). Finally, we must consider the probability or likelihood that our

actions will produce the consequences we intend. For example, the prisons are full

of thieves who in a personal (and not merely community) context did not make a

good utilitarian choice. For instance, a certain offender commits an armed robbery

to acquire money to spend on a lavish lifestyle that would make her feel good.

Instead, because the offender did not consider the probability of being caught,

she spends 15 years experiencing the pain of imprisonment.

Let me briefly summarize. The ethical theorist is interested in discovering the

basic, fundamental principle of morality, a foundation on which all moral judgments

rest. The utilitarian claims to have found such a principle and identifies it

as the “greatest happiness” principle. According to utilitarianism, an action ought

to be done if and only if that action maximizes the total amount of pleasure (or

minimizes the total amount of pain) of all parties affected by the action.

The entire criminal justice system can be justified on utilitarian grounds. Why

do we need a police force? To serve and protect. That is to say, it is in the longterm

interests of a society (it produces the greatest amount of happiness for the

greatest number of people) to pay police officers to protect the community from

burglars, murderers, rapists, and drunk drivers. The utilitarian would argue that

what we call criminal activities tend to produce much more pain than pleasure.

Therefore, a criminal justice system is instituted to lower the amount of crime,

thereby lowering the amount of pain produced by crime.

Despite the fact that utilitarianism can be used to justify the criminal justice

system, there are certain times when we say a police officer is justified in arresting

(or ticketing) a citizen, even though that arrest does not lead to the greatest good

for the greatest number. For example, suppose a man is in a rush to pick up his

daughter at school. He is driving on the freeway on a bright, sunny day and there

is virtually no traffic. Suppose he exceeds the speed limit by 15 miles per hour (the

speed limit is 55 mph and he is driving at 70 mph). The police officer stops him

and gives him a ticket for $75. One might argue that, in this case, the painful consequences

of giving a ticket outweigh the pleasurable consequences. First, the

driver is caused pain by having to pay the ticket. Second, by getting the ticket,

the driver is late to pick up his daughter, which causes the daughter anxiety. The

delay also causes inconvenience for the principal at school, who must wait with

the daughter until the father arrives. What are the pleasurable consequences for

giving the ticket? Who is made happier? Had the officer just given the driver a

warning, the driver, the principal, and the child would all be happier. No one would

be less happy. So, on utilitarian grounds, the officer should not issue a ticket in the

set of circumstances just described.


The previous example leads some people to protest that the officer has a



issue the ticket, regardless of the consequences. This leads us to our next moral

theory, namely, deontological ethics.


The word

deontology comes from two Greek roots: deos, meaning duty, and logos


meaning study. Deontology is therefore the study of duty. Deontologists have

argued that human beings sometimes have duties to perform certain actions,

regardless of the consequences. Police officers have a duty to issue traffic tickets,

even when doing so does not produce the greatest good for the greatest number.

Teachers have the obligation or duty to fail students who do failing work, even

if failing that student produces more misery than happiness.

The most famous deontologist is Immanuel Kant, an eighteenth-century

German philosopher. Kant believed that all consequentialist theories missed something

crucial to ethics by neglecting the concept of duty. But that is not all. Kant

also believed that by focusing solely on consequences, utilitarian-type theories

missed something even more basic to morality, namely, a good will or the intention

to do what is right. He begins his treatise on ethics as follows: “It is impossible to

conceive anything at all in the world, or even out of it, which can be taken as good

without qualification, except a good will” (Kant, 1964:61). In other words, the key

to morality is human will or intention, not consequences.

Consider the following example: Suppose John is driving down the road and

sees someone on the side of the road having difficulty with a flat tire. John notices

that the car is a brand-new Cadillac and the driver of the car (an elderly woman) is

wearing a mink coat. John thinks to himself, “If I help this woman, she will give

me a large reward.” So, John stops his car and helps the woman fix her flat tire.

In the second case, Mary drives down the road and sees someone on the side

of the road having difficulty with a flat tire. Mary says to herself, “That woman

seems to be in trouble. I think I should help her.” And she does help her. Kant

would argue that there is a moral difference between case one and case two,

despite the fact that the consequences in the two cases are identical. In both

cases, John and Mary (from a utilitarian view) did the right thing by helping the

woman, thereby producing the greatest good for the greatest number. However,

Kant would argue that even though John and Mary both did the right thing (Kant

would say they both acted in accordance with duty), there is still a moral difference:

Mary did the act because it was her duty, whereas John was motivated by

self-interest. Kant would not say that John was immoral. After all, he didn’t do

anything wrong. In fact, he did the right thing. But because he didn’t do it for

the right reason, his action has no moral worth. He did the right thing for selfish

reasons (which is still better than doing the wrong thing—that is to say, performing

an action inconsistent with duty). Kant (1964:65–67) draws a distinction between

actions that are merely in accordance with duty and actions that are taken for the


sake of duty. Furthermore, he holds that only actions that are done for the sake of

duty have moral worth.

Having established the importance of good will (doing an act for the right reason),

Kant moves to the question: What is our duty? In other words, just as the utilitarians

have a fundamental principle of morality (act so as to produce the greatest

good for the greatest number), Kant argues for a different fundamental principle of


The categorical imperative

Kant calls the fundamental principle of morality the

categorical imperative

. An

imperative is a command. It tells us what we ought to do or what we should do.

The categorical imperative contrasts with what Kant calls

hypothetical imperatives


A hypothetical imperative is a command that begins with “if”—for example, if you

want to get a good grade, you ought to study, or if you want to make a lot of

money, you should work hard, or if you want to stay out of jail, you should not

break the law. The categorical imperative is unhypothetical—no ifs whatsoever.

Just do it! You ought to behave morally, period; not: if you want people to like

you, you should behave morally; not: if you want to go to heaven, you should

behave morally. It is simply “you ought to behave morally.” In other words, the

categorical imperative commands absolutely and unconditionally.

What is the categorical imperative? Kant gives several formulations of it. We

will focus on two of those. The first formulation emphasizes a basic concept in

ethics called


. The basic idea of universalizability is that for my

action to be morally justifiable, I must be able to will that anyone in relevantly

similar circumstances act in the same way. For example, I would like to cheat

on my income tax, but could I will that everyone cheats on income taxes, thereby

leaving the government insufficient funds to carry out programs I support? I would

like to tell a lie to extricate myself from an uncomfortable situation, but could I

will that someone else lie to me to get him or herself out of a difficult situation?

Kant’s formulation of the categorical imperative is as follows: “Act only on that

maxim [a


is a principle of action] through which you can at the same time

will that it should become a universal law” (1964:88).

Kant’s insight is that morality involves fairness or equality—that is, a willingness

to treat everyone in the same way. I am acting immorally when I make myself

an exception (“I wouldn’t want others behaving this way, but it is fine for me to

behave this way”). Put in that way, we see a similarity to the Golden Rule, which

states, “Do unto others only as you would have them do unto you.”


Kant’s idea is

that you should do only what you are willing to permit anyone else to do. The idea

is that there is something inconsistent or irrational about saying that it is fine for

me to lie to you, cheat you, steal from you, but it is not justified for you to do those

things to me.

The next formulation of the categorical imperative focuses on the fact that

human beings have intrinsic value (i.e., value in and of themselves). Because


human beings have intrinsic value, they ought always to be treated with reverence

and never to be treated as mere things. When I treat someone as a thing, an object,

a tool, or an instrument, I am treating that person as a means to my own ends. For

example, if I marry someone to get her money, I am using her as a means to my

own ends. I am not treating her with dignity, respect, or reverence but as a mere

thing. It is the classic case of “using someone.” When I was about 10 years old,

a friend and I wanted to go to a movie. My mother could drive one way, but my

friend’s mother was busy and couldn’t drive that day. So we decided to call a

neighbor (Richard). I still remember the conversation. I said, “Hi, Richard. Would

you like to go to a movie with me and Kenny?” Richard responded affirmatively,

saying he would enjoy that very much. I then said, “Could your mother drive one

way?” Well, Richard exploded. Richard immediately recognized that we were not

inviting him because we especially wanted him to come, but rather we were using

him to get a ride from his mother. Unfortunately, Richard was right. That was precisely

why we called him.

Kant (1964) speaks of a human being as “something whose existence has in

itself an absolute value” (p. 95). He goes on to say that “man, and in general every

rational being, exists as an end in himself, not merely as a means for arbitrary use

by this or that will” (p. 95). On the basis of this belief, he offers the following formulation

of the categorical imperative: “Act in such a way that you always treat

humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply

as a means, but always at the same time as an end” (p. 96).

Kant believed that these two seemingly different formulations of the categorical

imperative really come to the same thing. Perhaps the reasoning goes as follows:

What maxims or principles of action would I be willing to universalize? Only those

that treated others as ends in themselves and not as things. Why? Because I myself

want to be treated with reverence, respect, and dignity. And because I want to be

treated as a being with intrinsic value, I can only universalize maxims that treat

other people as having intrinsic value.


Now let us contrast deontological ethics with utilitarianism on a specific issue

related to criminal justice. The issue is: What are the legitimate restraints a society

should impose on police officers in the apprehension of suspected criminals? To

limit this rather broad topic somewhat, let us focus on the use of techniques of

deceit, including entrapment, telephone bugging, and undercover operations. In

this example, I will not try to predict the answer that a utilitarian or a deontologist

will give. Instead, I will simply contrast the approach or the strategy they will use

in thinking about the issue.

Let’s begin with utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is a consequentialist moral theory.

We decide the legitimacy of deceptive tactics on the basis of the consequences


of using those tactics. In particular, we must weigh the positive results against the

negative results in deciding what to do. On the positive side are entrapment, bugging

operations, and undercover operations work. As a result of the use of such tactics,

we are able to apprehend some criminals that might otherwise go free. And, as

a result of apprehending those criminals, we may deter future crime in two ways:

(1) we keep known criminals behind bars where they are unable to commit further

crimes and (2) we show, by example, what happens when someone breaks the law,

thereby deterring other citizens from risking incarceration.

On the negative side, we have certain individuals’ right to privacy being violated

by the use of deceptive tactics. The utilitarian will now weigh the positive

benefits of apprehending criminals, and thereby protecting society, against the negative

consequence of violating certain citizens’ rights to privacy.

Kant would approach the issue from a very different reference point. As a

deontologist, he would not approach this issue from the perspective of: What consequences

are likely to occur? Rather than focusing on the results or ends of the

behavior, he would look at the behavior itself to see if it conforms to the categorical

imperative. Concentrating on the universalizability formulation of the categorical

imperative, a Kantian might ask: Would I consent to having my telephone

bugged if there were reason to suspect that I was guilty of a crime?

Or, if we were to attend to the second formulation of the categorical imperative,

a Kantian might ask: Does the use of manipulative techniques in law enforcement

constitute treating suspected criminals as mere means to our ends (by manipulating

them, we are using them), or does it constitute treating them as ends in themselves

(mature, responsible citizens who must answer to their behavior)?

These are difficult questions to answer. But the point of the example is not to

show how a utilitarian or deontologist would solve an ethical issue in criminal justice;

rather, we want to illustrate how they would approach or think about such an



Both Kant’s categorical imperative and Mill’s principle of greatest happiness

capture some of our moral intuitions. Treating people as ends and producing the

greatest amount of happiness both seem to be credible guides to the moral life.

Nonetheless, both theories seem to have trouble with a certain range of cases.

Utilitarianism appears to have difficulty with certain cases of injustice, and

Kant’s deontology seems to have no way to handle cases of conflicting duties. In

this final section, we look at the weak points in both theories and propose an

integrated Kantian-utilitarian ethic to handle the alleged weaknesses of both



According to utilitarianism, an action is moral when it produces the greatest

amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. A problem arises, however,




when the greatest happiness is achieved at the expense of a few. For example, if a

large group were to enslave a very small group, the large group would gain certain

comforts and luxuries (and the pleasure that accompanies those comforts) as a

result of the servitude of the few. If we were to follow the utilitarian calculus

strictly, the suffering (even intense suffering) of a few would be outweighed by

the pleasure of a large enough majority. A thousand people’s modest pleasure

would outweigh the suffering of 10 others. Hence, utilitarianism would seem to

endorse slavery when it produces the greatest total amount of happiness for the

greatest number of people. This is obviously a problem for utilitarianism. Slavery

and oppression are wrong regardless of the amount of pleasure accumulated by the

oppressing class. In fact, when one person’s pleasure results from the suffering of

another, the pleasure seems all the more abhorrent.

The preceding case points to a weakness in utilitarianism—namely, the weakness

in dealing with certain cases of injustice. Sometimes it is simply unjust to treat

people in a certain way, regardless of the pleasurable consequences for others.

A gang rape is wrong even if 50 people enjoy it and only one suffers. It is wrong

because it is unjust. To use Kant’s formulation, it is always wrong to treat anyone

as a mere means to one’s own ends. When we enslave, rape, and oppress, we are

always treating the victim as a means to our own ends.

There are several cases related to criminal justice in which this issue comes up.

However, when it comes up in these cases, it is not as simple as the slavery and

gang-rape cases. It is complex, subtle, and controversial. The cases I am considering

involve the excessive use of force. Suppose, for example, that we want to keep

order in our communities or in our prisons. Would we be justified in using excessive

force on one offender as an example to the rest? If we were to beat a few citizens

or prisoners severely for certain crimes, those public beatings might deter

future crimes, thereby increasing the general happiness. But do we have the right

to treat one offender with excessive violence to teach others a lesson? A case like

this is apt to produce a lively debate, and the debate would involve utilitarian and

Kantian sentiments. The utilitarian might point out that although public canings are

brutal, Singapore—which uses such punishments—is virtually crime-free. The

Kantian would say that the beating of some citizens to protect others is too high

a price. It is simply unjust to mistreat one citizen to benefit others. Our ambivalent

feelings about this case show how deeply we have internalized the voices of both

Kant and Mill.

We see from the preceding cases (especially the slavery case) that utilitarianism

has trouble dealing with situations involving the maximization of pleasure for the

majority at the expense of the minority. We also see that Kant, with his emphasis

on treating people as ends in themselves, can easily handle those cases. Kant’s

moral theory, however, has problems of its own. In particular, although Kant talks

extensively of duty, he seems to have no way to deal with cases of conflicting

duties. Suppose, for example, you borrow a gun from a friend for target practice

and promise to return the weapon. After you borrow the weapon, your friend


becomes emotionally upset and vows to shoot someone. He then demands that you

return the gun that you promised to return. He says he needs the gun back to commit

a murder. On one hand, you have a duty to keep your promises and return what

you owe. On the other hand, you have a duty to try to prevent a murder. Kant gives

us no guidance here. Treating people as ends and not means is a nice formula, but

how does it apply in this case? If you do not return the gun, aren’t you treating

your friend as a means? If you do return the gun, aren’t you treating the potential

murder victim as a means? Kant provides no obvious solution. It is precisely at this

point that a utilitarian calculus might help. The utilitarian would estimate the harm

done by returning the gun against the harm done by keeping the gun. Presumably,

much more harm would be caused by returning the weapon.

It appears, therefore, that Kant’s theory is strong where Mill’s is weak, and vice

versa. Kant’s emphasis on justice provides a moral reason to reject slavery, even

when it maximizes pleasure. The utilitarian calculus gives us a method of determining

what to do in cases of conflicting duties.

Perhaps we can combine the insights of both utilitarianism and deontology and

formulate a

utilitarian Kantian principle


An action ought to be done in a situation if and only if (1) doing the action, (a)

treats as mere means as few people as possible in the situation, and (b) treats as

ends as many people as is consistent with (a), and (2) doing the action in the

situation brings about as much overall happiness as is consistent with (1).

This integrated Kantian utilitarian principle avoids the problem of the many

enslaving the few because such an act would violate point 1. It also avoids the

problem of conflicting duties because point 2 provides a way of deciding what to

do when we are faced with a conflict of duties.

Deontology and utilitarianism are two of the most significant, influential ethical

theories in Western thought. Much of the moral reasoning we engage in daily is

guided by utilitarian and/or deontological reflection. This is true both generally

and specifically in cases involving criminal justice. The criminal justice system

itself is usually justified on either utilitarian grounds (it is in the best interest of

most citizens to punish criminals) or Kantian grounds (it is our duty to punish

wrongdoing). The hope is that this essay will provide some tools that we can use

in trying to understand and solve some of the tough ethical decisions facing our

criminal justice system.

Learn More on the Internet

Go to for more information on a variety of social

and criminal justice ethics topics. Visit for more on moral



. Cornman and Lehrer (1974) propose the


following integrated principle:



1. In


(987b1), Aristotle states: “Now Socrates was engaged in the study of ethical

matters, but not at all in the study of nature as a whole, yet in ethical matters he

sought the universal and was the first to fix his thought on definitions.”

2. See Plato, Laches 191c, Euthyphro 5c-d, Meno 72a.

3. See Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31.

4. I first discovered the idea of integrating Kant and Mill in James Cornman and Keith

Lehrer, (1974),

Philosophical Problems and arguments: An introduction

, (2nd ed.).

New York: Macmillan, (pp. 504–508).


Aristotle (350

BCE). Nicomachean ethics

. 1095a (pp. 15–20).

Bentham, J. (1970).

The principles of morals and legislation

. Darien, CT: Hafner.

Braswell, M., Pollock, J., & Braswell, S. (2007).

Morality stories: Dilemmas in ethics, crime

and justice

. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.

Cornman, J., & Lehrer, K. (1974).

Philosophical problems and arguments: An introduction

(2nd ed.). New York: Macmillan.

Kant, I. (1964).

Groundwork of the metaphysics of morals

(H. J. Paton, Trans.). New York:

Harper & Row.

Mill, J. S. (1979).


. Hackett: Indianapolis.

Pollock, J. (2004).

Dilemmas and decision: Ethics in crime and justice

. Belmont, CA:


Sherman, L. W. (1981).

The study of ethics in criminology and criminal justice

. Chicago:

Joint Commission on Criminology and Criminal Justice Education and Standards.

Souryal, S. (2010).

Ethics in criminal justice: In search of the truth

(5th ed.). Burlington,

MA: Anderson.



Compare and contrast utilitarianism and deontology. Which of the two do

you feel explains human behavior most effectively? Why?


Explain and discuss Kant’s categorical imperative. How appropriate are his

views in today’s criminal justice field?


Think of a difficult ethical decision that someone working in the criminal

justice field might face. Using one of the theories discussed in this chapter,

illustrate how it might be used to improve on that situation, including the

person’s understanding of his or her dilemma.


. .

Case Study 2–1 Room at the End of the Hall

You have just showered and changed into civilian clothes. You think to yourself that, for a

training officer, Sergeant Womack is all right. You have learned a lot from him during the

last 6 weeks. Being a rookie, police officer has gone much more smoothly than you thought

it would. Finishing the last of your umpteenth cup of coffee, you can’t help but overhear the

sergeant and the afternoon shift dispatcher discussing several neighborhood calls complaining

about a weekend fraternity party on Elm Street.

You say to the sergeant, “Sarge, I used to be a member of that fraternity when I was a

criminal justice student at the university. I’d be happy to stop by on my way home and

check it out. College boys can get a little out of control at times. I don’t mind making a visit

and getting them to quiet things down.”

Sergeant Womack looks at the dispatcher and then turns to you.

“OK, Mike. Just be sure if there is any trouble, you call me pronto.”

“You got it, Sarge,” you respond, chuckling to yourself and remembering your wild and

crazy times at the fraternity house.

Parking your truck by the street in front of the fraternity house, you can see that the situation

is about what you expected. You quickly herd the people partying in the yard into the

house and announce to all, pulling your badge, to hold things down since the neighbors are

complaining to the police. Your voice has a firm but friendly tone to it and the partygoers,

with a couple of minor exceptions expressed by several intoxicated brothers, generally comply

with your request. You ask one fairly responsible-looking student in a fraternity sweatshirt

where Ed, the organization’s president, is, and he directs you to the last room on the

right upstairs.

Entering the room, you observe seven or eight male students all watching some kind of

activity in the corner of the room. Several are shouting encouragement; the rest are drinking

beer and watching in silence. The observers are so enthralled with what is going on that they

don’t even notice your presence as you work your way through the crowd to see what is happening.

You stop in your tracks. There on a bed is a male student having intercourse with a

girl. Next to the bed is another male student zipping his pants up. You cannot tell what state

of mind the girl is in. She seems intoxicated and confused, and perhaps even somewhat

frightened. Not exactly sure what to do, you pull your badge and tell everyone to step outside

the room and not leave the house. You stop Ed and two males who were obviously having sex

with the girl and have them remain in the room. Ed, the fraternity president, has by this time

recognized you. The girl starts to cry quietly, the two males become very nervous, and the

rest of the observers quickly vanish from the room.

“Mike,” begins the president, extending his hand to you, “We were just having some

harmless fun.”

“I’m not so sure about that, Ed,” you reply, pulling out a notepad and pen and ignoring

his extended hand. You direct Ed to take the two males to an adjoining room and wait for

you there. You turn back to the girl, who has by now managed in some fashion to get

dressed. You ask her what was going on. All she can manage between quiet sobs is that

she is scared and that her name isXXXXX try to encourage her that everything will

be all right and ask her to remain in the room while you question Ed and the other two males

next door. As you leave the room, you look up and see Dr. Madge Mullins, assistant dean of

students, walking toward you. You know her from your days as a student.

“Mike, I got a call from a student downstairs who works in my office. What’s going on


You quickly explain the situation to her as you know it. You can tell from the look on her

face that she is both concerned and agitated.





Case Study 2–1 Room at the End of the Hall—Cont’d

“Mike, you said the girl’s name was Yvonne? I’ve dealt with her before. She doesn’t have

the best reputation on campus. This is a university matter and I will guarantee you that this

situation will be handled in an appropriate manner. There is no need for us to further embarrass

this girl or the university for that matter. You know what happens when these things get

in the paper.”

You carefully consider what Dean Mullins is saying. You also remember your sergeant’s

parting words. Do you let her take care of the situation or do you call Sergeant Womack?

Reprinted by permission of Waveland Press, Inc., from Michael Braswell, XXXXX XXXXX,

and Joycelyn Pollock,

Case Studies in Criminal Justice Ethics

(Long Grove, IL: Waveland

Press, Inc., 2006). All rights reserved.



What is Mike’s duty?


Does the fact that the girl in this situation has a “reputation” make a difference?



What would be a legally responsible and morally just outcome to this particular case

DXJAnswerMagic :

Hi! I'll copy and paste this into my file.

DXJAnswerMagic :



This is the end of chapter 2


Peacemaking, justice,

and ethics


Michael C. Braswell and Jeffrey Gold








The evolution of legal and social justice in the United States often has found itself

pulled between the retribution and punishment agendas of such ancient traditions

as the law of Moses, the Koran, and the rehabilitation and redemption traditions

of New Testament Christianity. The tension between these traditions of retribution

and rehabilitation, and punishment and reform, has been substantial.

Peacemaking from a justice and criminology perspective has been heralded in

some quarters as a contemporary, “New Age” phenomenon. The New Age movement

itself appears to be essentially a middle-class movement that focuses on such

issues as metaphysical inquiry, mind control, emotional healing, and financial

wellbeing. Although peacemaking concerns may be compatible with some of these

issues, they seem more grounded in age-old traditions such as Christianity, Judaism,

Islamism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. In particular, these ancient traditions

emphasize the value and usefulness of suffering and service to others, which is

often deemphasized or nonexistent in New Age movements (Bartollas &

Braswell, 1993).

Peacemaking, as evolved from ancient spiritual and wisdom traditions, has

included the possibility of mercy and compassion within the framework of justice.

To put such thinking in a more personal perspective, we might consider our own

experiences—times when we have been the victim and other occasions when we

have been the offender. Perhaps we have never committed a crime and, hopefully,

most of us have never been harmed by an offender. Yet in our own ways, we have

been both victim and offender. We have been betrayed by those we trusted,

whether through the heartbreak of a romance gone sour or the cruel gossip of a broken

confidence. How did we feel when we were betrayed? What did we want from

the one who hurt us? Typically, we wanted to strike back; we wanted revenge,

Justice, Crime, and Ethics.




2012 Elsevier Inc.. All rights reserved.


retribution, our “pound of flesh.” What about the occasions when we have been the

offender, when we have committed the betrayal? When our best friend found out

that we were the source of the criticism or cruel gossip, what did we want? As

the one who offended, what did we hope for? Did we hope for mercy and forgiveness,

perhaps another chance? Can we have it both ways? Can we be for revenge

and violence when we are the victim and for mercy and peace when we are the

offender? Can we expect to have it both ways?

In this chapter, we explore three themes of peacemaking: connectedness, care,

and mindfulness. It is our hope that through this exploration we will be able to better

understand the possibilities of peacemaking for us as criminal justice professionals

as well as on a personal level in our own lives.


The first and perhaps most important theme is demonstrated in the dedication to

the book

Inner Corrections: Finding Peace and Peace Making


Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every

sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming


. . .


. . .



In that letter, Chief Seattle emphasizes our connection to the natural world. One

can find a similar position in several different Eastern philosophies. Bo Lozoff

(1987:11), articulating the position found in Yoga, states: “In Truth, we (everybody

and everything in the Universe) are all connected; most of us just can’t see the





This we know: the earth


does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like

the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a

strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.


We know the sap which courses through the trees as we know the


blood that courses through our veins. We are part of the earth and it is part

of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle,

these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadow, the body heat

of the pony, and man, all belong to the same family


, which says, “to


the keeper and the kept, the offender and the victim, the parent and the child, the

teacher and the student, and the incarcerator and the liberator that is within each

of us” (Lozoff & Braswell, 1989:iii). This simple statement suggests what Eastern

philosophers such as Lao-tzu and Western philosophers such as Plato advocated

ages ago—that human beings are not simply isolated individuals, but each one of

us is integrally “connected” and bonded to other human beings and the environment.

This environment includes not only the outer physical environment but our

inner psychological and spiritual environment as well. Chief Seattle of the

Duwamish tribe, in an 1852 letter to the President of the United States, wrote the



The idea that we “just can’t see the glue” (i.e., we can’t see the connection linking

ourselves to others) is the Hindu concept that we misperceive ourselves as

isolated and disconnected from one another and the world. As we become more

aware of how we are connected to all that we are a part of, we are encouraged

to take more personal responsibility to do the best we can. Wendell Berry, a noted

conservationist, writes, “A man who is willing to undertake the discipline and the

difficulty of mending his own ways is worth more to the conservation movement

than a hundred who are insisting merely that the government and industries mend

their ways” (in Safransky, 1990:51). Thomas Merton suggests that “instead of hating

the people you think are war makers, hate the appetites and the disorder in your

own soul, which are the causes of war” (in Safransky, 1990:115). Insofar as we see

ourselves as apart from nature rather than a part of nature, we end up with pollution,

acid rain, destruction of forests, and the depletion of the earth’s ozone layer.

As Berry and Merton indicate, an important aspect of connectedness is looking

within, taking personal responsibility, and acting in a more responsible way so that

we contribute as little as possible to these ills.

In this regard, it is interesting to contrast two metaphors concerning the earth.

The older metaphor of “Mother Earth” contrasts dramatically with the contemporary

metaphor of the earth as a collection of natural resources. A mother is someone

to whom we feel connected and bound. To perceive the earth as one’s mother

is to see oneself as coming out of the earth. The connection could not be any more

intimate. To perceive the earth as an assortment of natural resources is another

matter entirely. To conceive of the earth as merely a provider of goods for our

own purposes is, to borrow Kant’s expression, to see the earth as merely a means

of our own ends. The danger in that attitude is now obvious. Insofar as we do not

consider the earth to be sacred or precious (as Chief Seattle did) but instead see it

as a commodity with no intrinsic worth, we find ourselves in a world with poisoned

places like Prince William Sound, Three Mile Island, Love Canal, and Chernobyl.

To put such thinking in a Judeo-Christian context, does “dominion over the earth”

refer to our being responsible stewards of the earth and its resources, or does it

allow us to attempt to dominate the earth, exploiting its resources for profit and

convenience, with little or no regard for breaking environmental laws or for our

children’s future?

Once we accept the assumption that we are connected to everyone and everything

around us, it becomes clear that our actions do not take place in a vacuum

but within a complex web of interconnected people and things. Whatever I do

has an impact on those around me. My actions have consequences. This is the

Hindu and Buddhist concept of karma. The law of karma is the law of cause and

effect. All actions have effects or consequences. The law of karma is neither good

nor bad. It simply is what it is.

When we integrate the notion of karma (lawful consequences) with the notion

of connectedness, it becomes clear that, since we are connected to everyone around

us, our actions affect those who are connected to us, even when we cannot see the


connections. Insofar as we have an impact on someone we are connected with, we

have an impact on ourselves. In other words, our actions ultimately come back to

us. What goes around comes around. What we do to others, in one way or another,

we also do to ourselves. It is the biblical idea that we reap what we sow. It is Chief

Seattle’s idea that “Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it.

Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. Plant seeds of violence and reap

violent fruits. Plant seeds of compassion and reap compassionate fruits.” Bo Lozoff

(1987:9) states: “Every thought, word, and deed is a seed we plant in the world. All

our lives, we harvest the fruits of those seeds. If we plant desire, greed, fear, anger

and doubt, then that’s what will fill our lives. Plant love, courage, understanding,

good humor, and that’s what we get back. This isn’t negotiable; it’s a law of

energy, just like gravity.”

When we speak of karma, we are not talking about retribution, revenge, or punishment.

Rather, we are speaking of the consequences of actions. We do not say of

someone who jumps from a third-story window that his broken leg is a punishment

for jumping. It is simply a consequence. Rather than thinking of karma as retribution,

it is better to think of it as the principle, “You’ve made your bed, now you

must lie in it.” We must inhabit the world we create. If we pollute the world, we

must live in a polluted world. If we act violently or choose to ignore violence

and injustice, we must live in a violent and unjust world.

According to proponents of the idea of karma (the idea that each one of

us reaps what he or she sows), no one can ever get away with one’s actions.

Perhaps we won’t get caught by the police, but the action still has an impact

on our own life. For a philosopher like Plato, the consequences are consequences

for our own psyche. In Plato’s


, Socrates compares physical

health with psychological health.


To understand this comparison, consider the

following example. I live a sedentary life, eat a diet of junk food and soda

pop, smoke cigarettes, and drink alcohol excessively. This life of no exercise,

poor nutrition, cigarettes, and alcohol will eventually catch up with me. After

I become adjusted and acclimated to it, I may believe that I feel just fine. But

from the fact that I believe that I feel fine, it does not follow that I am in an

optimal state of physical health. The reason that I believe that I feel fine is precisely

because I no longer even know what it is like to feel healthy. It is like a

severely nearsighted boy who has never worn glasses. He will not know that his

sight is not optimal; he will think the world is supposed to look the way he sees

it. He will not know that there is a better way to see. Similarly, I, as the person

who lives a sedentary life and eats exclusively at fast food restaurants, may not

know that there is a better way to feel. But the fact that I do not know it does not

stop the junk food and cigarettes from continuing to affect my physical condition.

One simply cannot avoid the consequences of an unhealthy diet and


This is also a useful analogy for understanding suffering and violence within

families. There is often a sense of disconnectedness, inconsistency, and neglect


regarding relationships in unhealthy and abusive families. Over a period of years,

trust becomes nonexistent, and feelings of anger and unhappiness begin to appear

normal to such families. They forget how it felt to be happy and at peace (if they

ever experienced such feelings). When children grow up full of pain and inconsistencies,

they, along with their families, often reap a harvest of drug abuse, spousal

battering, and other forms of criminality—even suicide or homicide. They did not

realize things had gotten so bad. In a sense, the connections, both hidden and obvious,

that animate the consequences of our actions are like a dance (and there are no

spectators in the dance of life). “The flailing arms of the abusive parent and the

contortions of the victim-child are locked in a dance of pain and sorrow no less significant

than the dance of joy experienced by the loving elderly couple” (Braswell,




, Plato argues that the same is true with injustice and psychological

health. One can never escape the consequences of injustice. One may escape detection

by the police, one may never be brought to trial, one may never go to prison—

but injustice continues to affect one’s psyche, whether we know it or not. We must

inhabit the unjust world that we have created. According to Plato, injustice brings

strife, disharmony, and conflict. There will be strife and conflict in an unjust city.

Similarly, there will be strife and conflict in an unjust individual (a lack of psychic

health and wholeness). Just as the physically unhealthy man may not know he is

unhealthy and the nearsighted child may not know his eyesight is poor, the unjust

man may not know that he is in a state of psychic disharmony and imbalance. That

is because he has become adjusted and acclimated to an unjust and violent life. He

simply doesn’t know what it is like to feel balanced, harmonious, and whole. Of

course, consequences of poor physical or psychic health may also offer a person

opportunity to learn and grow from his or her experience. For example, what does

it mean when a person who ridicules and feels prejudice toward disabled persons

finds himself or herself the parent of a disabled child? Some people might suggest

that such a consequence is a form of punishment. Perhaps on a deeper level, the

consequence is also an opportunity—another chance for the disconnected person

to see and experience the connection that his or her disabled child is lovable and

an important part of the web of life. The same can be said of the harsh, uncaring

critic of the drug addict, who comes to find that his own daughter or son suffers

from such an affliction.

To summarize, according to what we are calling theories of connectedness,

people are not isolated, disconnected beings. Rather, we are earthly beings and

social beings; that is, we are creatures integrally connected to the earth and to other

people on the earth. What we do has direct consequence for those to whom we are

connected, whether or not we see the connection. Our actions directly affect the

world in which we live. We must live in the world created by our own actions.

If we act violently, cruelly, and unjustly, we will live in a world filled with violence,

cruelty, and injustice. If we act compassionately and benevolently, we will

live in a world that is more compassionate and benevolent.


This metaphysical view naturally leads to an ethics of nonviolence. The Sanskrit




One evening as Shichiri Kojun was reciting sutras a thief with a sharp sword

entered, demanding either his money or his life. Shichiri told him: “Do not disturb

me. You can find the money in that drawer.” Then he resumed his recitation.

A little while afterwards he stopped and called: “Don’t take it all. I need

some to pay taxes with tomorrow.” The intruder gathered up most of the money

and started to leave. “Thank a person when you receive a gift,” Shichiri added.

The man thanked him and made off. A few days afterwards the fellow was

caught and confessed, among others, the offence against Shichiri. When Shichiri


, meaning nonviolence, is a fundamental concept in Hinduism


and Buddhism. Mahatma Gandhi, who advocated an ethic of nonviolence, is a contemporary

representative of that idea. A Christian representative is Martin Luther

King, Jr. Both believed in changing the world and rectifying the injustices they

saw, but both insisted on using nonviolent strategies. Martin Luther King, Jr.,

accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, said, “The nonviolent resisters can summarize

their message in the following simple terms: We will not obey unjust laws or submit

to unjust practices. We will do this peacefully, openly, cheerfully, because our

aim is to persuade. We adopt the means of nonviolence because our end is a community

at peace with itself” (Cohen, 1971:40). The idea is that violence breeds violence.

You don’t fight fire with fire, rather you put out fire with water. You don’t

end violence by violently resisting it. Perhaps that is what Jesus meant by “resist

not evil” (Matthew 5:39). You don’t end violence by creating more of it. If we

must inhabit the world we create and we want to live in a world that is just and

peaceful, we ought to act in just and peaceful ways. Richard Quinney (1993)

writes, “Instead of a war on crime (“on criminals”) we need to be waging peace

on the economy, in the society, and within ourselves.” In other words, we need

to wage peace, not war.

An example of the relevance of this philosophy to criminal justice can be

found in our contemporary prisons. Contemporary prisons are typically violent

institutions that tend to perpetuate rather than diminish violence. According

to the theories presented in this section, we must begin to treat criminals in less

violent and more compassionate ways. We must stop thinking in terms of

revenge, retribution, and recrimination and begin to think in terms of reconciliation,

compassion, and forgiveness. In recent years, there have been innovations

and increasing numbers of alternative programs on mediation, conflict resolution,

restitution, and community action. They are a part of an emerging criminology of

peacemaking, a criminology that seeks to end suffering and reduce crime (Quinney,

1993). This approach to corrections is not a weak, “bleeding heart”

approach. Sometimes love may have to be firm love. Still, if we choose to

acknowledge our connectedness and desire to be peacemakers, we will insist

on treating people as a part of our humanity, whether they deserve such treatment

or not.

The following Zen story presents this philosophy in its most radical form:


was called as a witness he said: “This man is no thief, at least as far as I am

concerned. I gave him the money and he thanked me for it.” After he had finished

his prison term, the man went to Shichiri and became his disciple. (Reps,


Along the same lines, Jesus teaches that if anyone sues you for your coat, let him

also have your cloak (Matthew 5:40). He goes on to say: “Love your enemies,

bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who

despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). The radical message of

these philosophies is that we should cease to repay violence with violence, whether

that repayment be called “retribution” or “just desserts.” Instead, we must learn to,

as Paul puts it, “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Jesus also reminds us

that whatever we do to the “least of those” in our society, we do to him. In terms of

criminal justice, that would involve a complete reform of what we now call



See Box 3.1.


Life is short

Make a difference

Perseverance more than ability is key

Keep trying

Even when you are the victim of injustice

Even when you yourself are unjust

Keep trying

Be kind to those around you

Be kind to yourself as well

And when you are not

Keep trying

And be encouraging

Especially when there is no reason to be

Seek completion not perfection

Seek truth not power

Sooner or later the truth will set you free

But not before it beats the hell out of you

Keep trying

Answers long forgotten, the question remains:

when will the peace that passes understanding come?

Not at the end of conflict but in its midst

Peace is a longshot

Justice even more so

Sometimes longshots come in

Believe that they will

From peace within to peace without

From being just to justice for all


Braswell (2004)







In the previous chapter, we presented reasons in support of the utilitarian version

of the fundamental rule of morality, namely, that we ought to produce the

greatest good for the greatest number. We advanced Kant’s arguments for what

he considers to be the basic moral principle: that we ought to treat others as

ends in themselves and not as mere means. We have just explored how theories

of connectedness defend the moral absolute of nonviolence. Though the three theories

differ from one another, all share a similarity of approach. All attempt to

prove, by means of argument, justification, and reason, a specific moral rule or

principle. According to Nel Noddings (1986), proving, justifying, and arguing for

rules and principles is a masculine approach to ethics. In



Ethics, the philosophical study of morality, has concentrated for the most part

on moral reasoning

. . .


According to Noddings (1986:2), the masculine approach (the approach of the

father) is a detached perspective that focuses on law and principle, whereas the

feminine approach (the approach of the mother) is rooted in receptivity, relatedness,

and responsiveness. Noddings advocates the feminine perspective. She goes

on to point out that “this does not imply that all women will accept it [the feminine

perspective] or that men will reject it; indeed, there is no reason why men should

not embrace it” (Noddings, 1986:2).

The masculine perspective is an approach to ethics, an approach through justification

and argument. The feminine perspective, on the other hand, “shall locate

the very wellspring of ethical behavior in human affective response” (Noddings,

1986:3). Noddings’s point is that ethical caring is ultimately grounded in natural

caring—for example, the natural caring of a mother for her child. Noddings’s

emphasis on natural caring leads her to the conclusion “that in truth, the moral


Even though careful philosophers have recognized the


difference between “pure” or logical reason and “practical” or moral reason,

ethical argumentation has frequently proceeded as if it were governed by the

logical necessity characteristic of geometry. It has concentrated on the establishment

of principles and that which can be logically derived from them. One

might say that ethics has been discussed largely in the language of the father:

in principles and propositions, in terms such as justification, fairness, justice.

The mother’s voice has been silent. Human caring and the memory of caring

and being cared for, which I shall argue form the foundation of ethical

response, have not received attention except as outcomes of ethical behavior.

One is tempted to say that ethics has so far been guided by Logos, the masculine

spirit, whereas the more natural and perhaps stronger approach would be

through Eros, the feminine spirit. (p. 1)


she outlines an alternative. Noddings


claims that:


Caring: A Feminine


Approach to Ethics & Moral Education,


viewpoint is prior to any notion of justification” (Noddings, 1986:95). In other

words, rather than viewing reason and justification as the process by which one

comes to the moral perspective, Noddings indicates that the moral perspective is

a natural perspective, as natural as a mother caring for her infant.

An ancient Chinese philosophy, Taoism, advocates a position that is similar to

the one we find in Noddings. The two major Taoist philosophers, Lao-tzu and

Chuang-tzu, suggest that not only is natural caring prior to reason, justification,

and principle, but it is also superior to those activities. In fact, the Taoists claim

that principles of ethics actually interfere with caring. Just as Nel Noddings is

responding to a particular masculine tradition in Western ethics, the Taoists are

responding to a particular tradition in Chinese ethics, namely, Confucianism. The

Confucianists were very rule- and principle-oriented—rules for filial piety, rules

for those who govern, rules for those who are governed. The Taoists responded

by claiming that those rules, because of their artificiality, destroyed true, natural

caring and replaced it with forced or legislated “caring.”

From the Taoist perspective, the danger of advocating ethical rules and principles

is that they will replace something far superior to those principles, namely,

natural caring. Chuang-tzu (1964) says: “Because [the doctrine of] right and wrong

appeared, the Way was injured” (p. 37).

Lao-tzu (1963) makes a similar claim. Lao-tzu doesn’t make the strong claim

that the doctrine of right and wrong destroyed the Way (the Tao). However, he

does claim that only in unnatural states does the doctrine of right and wrong arise.

In the Tao Te Ching, Lao-tzu says:

Therefore, when Tao [the natural Way] is lost, only then does the doctrine of

virtue arise.

When virtue is lost, only then does the doctrine of humanity arise.

When humanity is lost, only then does the doctrine of righteousness arise.

When righteousness is lost, only then does the doctrine of propriety arise.

Now, propriety is a superficial expression of loyalty and faithfulness, and the

beginning of disorder. (p. 167)

Notice how Lao-tzu concludes by discussing the superficiality of notions of

propriety and how such notions are the beginning of disorder. In another section

of the Tao Te Ching, Lao-tzu summarizes the preceding by saying, “When the

great Tao [Natural Way] declined, the doctrine of humanity and righteousness

arose” (p. 131). Lao-tzu is saying that artificial doctrines of virtue, humanity,

and righteousness, doctrines that tell us how we ought to behave, arise only in

unhealthy situations. Something is already terribly wrong when we tell a mother

she ought to feed her child or that she has a duty to feed her child. Feeding one’s

child is a natural, caring response. Lao-tzu says: “When the six family relationships

are not in harmony, there will be the advocacy of filial piety and deep love

to children” (p. 131).






Given that we live in and are inculcated into a patriarchal society, a society of

rules, principles, and laws, do the Taoists have any suggestions as to how to break

free from patriarchal modes of thought and return to a more natural and caring way

of living in the world? As you might expect, the answer to this question is yes. The

Taoist position can be put in the following way: Moral reasoning is the product of

a mind that discriminates and draws distinctions (between right and wrong, good

and bad, just and unjust). According to Taoism, these categories and distinctions

are artificial and conventional, not natural. To put oneself into a more natural

state—which, according to the Taoist view on human nature, would be a more caring

state—one must undo, erase, or transcend all the conventional, artificial dualisms

that have been inculcated into us. We perceive the world the way we have

been taught to perceive the world. So, we must begin to unlearn the categories that

have been programmed into us.

In a more contemporary vein, Myers and Chiang (1993) also compared the

prevailing legalistic, masculine approach to law enforcement—which focuses on

analysis, rationalization, and punishment—with the feminine perspective of nurturing,

care, and treatment.

Martin (1993) examined the usefulness of incorporating transpersonal psychology

into the justice and corrections process. This discipline integrates Western

scientific and Eastern and Western spiritual traditions, which could open a fresh

way to develop policy and treatment strategies that are more positive and growth


An ancient story involving the teacher, Ryokan, and his delinquent nephew

offers another interesting, if unorthodox, approach to utilizing the ethic of care:

Once his brother asked Ryokan to visit his house and speak to his delinquent

son. Ryokan came but did not say a word of admonition to the boy. He stayed

overnight and prepared to leave the next morning. As the wayward nephew

was lacing up Ryokan’s sandals, he felt a drop of warm water. Glancing

up, he saw Ryokan looking down at him, his eyes full of tears. Ryokan then

returned home, and the nephew changed for the better. (in Safransky,


It goes without saying that caring is not the exclusive property of Taoism or

Yoga. Mother Teresa, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, encompassed this ethic

of caring from a Christian perspective. She started her work as a one-woman

mission in Calcutta, India, ministering to and caring for the dying. Generally

speaking, in some ways we might consider the dying poor even more undesirable

than incarcerated offenders. Yet Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity grew

from a one-woman operation to a group of active missions all over the world.

When asked how she could emotionally handle constantly being around so many

dying people, she responded that when she looked into the eyes of the dying she

saw “Christ in a distressing disguise.”






Mother Teresa is perhaps the embodiment of the ethic of care. Internalizing such

an approach requires that one develops a compassionate vision through mindfulness.

The following example from one of her public addresses demonstrates such

a vision in action:

A gentleman came to our house and he told me, “There is a Hindu family with

about eight children who have not eaten for a long time.” So I took some rice

quickly and went to their family and I could see real hunger on the small faces

of these children and yet the mother had the courage to divide the rice into two

and she went out. When she came back, I asked her, “Where did you go? What

did you do?” And she said: “They are hungry also.” “Who are they?” “The

Muslim family next door with as many children.” She knew that they were hungry.

What struck me most was that she knew and because she knew she gave

until it hurt. I did not bring more rice that night because I wanted them to enjoy

the joy of giving, of sharing. You should have seen the faces of those little ones.

They just understood what their mother did. Their faces were brightened with

smiles. When I came in they looked hungry, they looked so miserable. But the

act of their mother taught them what true love was. (de Bertodano, 1993:53)

Mindfulness allows us to experience a more transcendent sense of awareness. It

allows us to be fully present, aware of what is immediate, yet also at the same time

to become more aware of the larger picture in terms of both needs and possibilities.

Mindfulness allowed the Hindu mother not only to receive the rice from Mother

Teresa with gratitude but also allowed her to see how she was connected to the

hungry Muslim family and how to have the courage to care enough to share her

meager resources, thus teaching her own children one of life’s greatest lessons.

Mindfulness can encourage us to move from the passion of single-minded selfinterest

to a growing sense of compassion that includes others and their needs. We

often wring our hands about those who are victims of physical abuse and the homeless,

yet how often do we volunteer to help (Braswell, 1990a)? Mindfulness can

help us, like the Hindu mother, to act on our concerns. As Wang Yang Ming states,

“To know and not to do is in fact, not to know” (Lozoff and Braswell, 1989:63).

Developing wholesight can help us to become more mindful in turning our knowing

into doing. As mentioned in Chapter 1, Parker Palmer (1983) suggests that

wholesight includes both the heart and the head in one’s decision making.

A strategy or process that can help us to become more mindful is meditation.

Meditation is a practice through which the meditator quiets or stills the contents

of the mind: the thoughts, the emotions, the desires, the inner chatter. Successful

meditation culminates in the cessation of mental activity, a profound inner stillness.

(See Box 3.2.)

Recall that Taoism teaches us to return to a more natural state, a state in which

we are not controlled by the artificial modes of thought that have been inculcated




Find a quiet, special place in which to meditate.


Find a time to practice meditation when the area is quiet and there are no distractions,

preferably twice daily. Many people practice meditation at the beginning of the day and at

the end of the day.


Try to meditate for a designated period of time during each meditation experience, usually

at least 10 min and preferably 20 min.


Sit in a straight-backed chair, keeping the spine as straight as possible.


For the designated period of time, practice the following sequence:


Sit silently for a few moments and become aware

of how you are breathing.


Gently and gradually begin to breathe more smoothly



Now begin to breathe a little more deeply

, gradually increasing the depth of your



Finally, begin to slow

the rate of your breathing.


No matter what distractions or thoughts may occur, simply acknowledge them and let

them pass, then return to breathing

smoothly, deeply, and slowly

for the designated

period of time.

The relevance of this approach in ethics to criminal justice can be seen in the work of

Bo Lozoff, director of the Prison Ashram Project. Lozoff works with prisoners, teaching

them techniques of meditation. Lozoff (1987:xvii) is “helping prisoners to use their cells

as ashrams [places of spiritual growth], and do their time as ‘prison monks’ rather than

convicts.” In his book

We’re All Doing Time

, Lozoff has a chapter on meditation in which

he describes and teaches a number of meditation techniques. Much of his work in prisons

involves teaching these techniques to convicts.


into us by our society. The practice of meditation can teach us to control and still

those modes of thought. By freeing ourselves from conventional ways of thinking,

we return to a more natural state, a more connected and caring state. Some people

are concerned that emptying the mind meditatively could lead to some form of

mind control. The truth of the matter is that meditation is more likely to lead to

a greater sense of self-control, because most of us stay preoccupied with thoughts

of things to do or things left undone. Busy, noisy minds often result in confused

and unclear thoughts. We are less likely to be misled or do something we regret

if our minds are quiet, strong, and clear.

Lozoff (1987:29) describes meditation as “sitting perfectly still—silence of

body, silence of speech, and silence of mind. The Buddha called this ‘The Noble

Silence.’ It’s just a matter of


.” To connect this with Taoism, we might

say that by achieving a state of inner silence in which we stop all the conventional

modes of thinking and reasoning that have been inculcated into us, we return to a

more natural state, a more caring state. And from this caring and compassionate

state, we can become more mindful of how our inner and outer experiences are

connected to those around us, even to our physical environment. This awareness

can become a kind of awakening, encouraging us to make more informed and ethical

decisions about the way we live our lives.


Learn More on the Internet

Visit for contemporary peacemaking and

peacemaking criminology issues.


If we choose to develop a greater capacity for the transformative potential of peacemaking

through connectedness, care, and mindfulness, it should follow that as people

and criminal justice professionals, we will act more morally and ethically (Wozniak,

Braswell, Vogel, & Blevins, 2008). In addition, we are more likely to teach offenders

such values from the inside out, because we will be living that way ourselves. For

peacemaking to work, we have to take it personally first. We have to be grounded

in the reality of where we are in terms of criminal justice problems, but at the same

time peacemaking encourages us to have a vision of what we can become.

Peacemaking offers us a vision of hope grounded in the reality of which we are a part.

John Gibbs (1993:2) suggests that “the best strategy for individual peacemakers is to

adopt one which emphasizes personal transformation, has a spiritual base, and avoids

ideology.” Mother Teresa writes, “There can be no peace in the world, including

peace in the streets and peace in the home, without peace in our mind. What happens

within us, happens outside us. The inner and outer are one” (de Bertodano, 1993:7).

If we choose to try to become peacemakers, it does not necessarily follow that

our lives will be less difficult. As Frederick Buechner (1973:39) suggests in discussing

the teachings of Jesus, “peace seems to have meant not the absence of

struggle but the presence of love.” Bo Lozoff (1994), who, with his wife, Sita,

has dedicated his life to teaching offenders peacemaking, writes in response to

an inmate’s letter:

Life is funny that way. We tend to expect a nice, easy, smooth life as a result of

prayer and meditation. But more often than not, our spiritual practice seems to

create more problems instead of fewer. And then we often freak out and miss the

point entirely.

Pain, separation, misfortune are a part of human life

. . .


Peacemaking acknowledges that although we do not control what life brings us,

we do have a choice in how to respond to whatever life brings us. Through connectedness,

care, and mindfulness, we can begin to change ourselves first, then others

by our example, and finally our system of justice—from the inside out. (See Box 3.3.)


. Did the martyrs of


every religion avoid being tortured for their beliefs? Divine beings, saints and

sages have come into this world to show us how to respond to pain, separation,

misfortune, and death—not how to escape them. By their example, they have

shown us the humility, patience, forgiveness, courage, compassion, and ultimate

freedom which are our own divine nature. (p. 5)



I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

—Martin Luther King Jr.

Love cures people—both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.

—Karl Menninger

The love we give away is the only love we keep.

—Elbert Hubbard

In all conflict with evil, the method to be used is love and not force. When we use

evil methods to defeat evil, it is evil that wins.

—Sri Rodhakrishnan

The inner ear of each man’s soul hears the voice of life (find your work, and do it!).

Only by obedience to this command can he find peace.

—Frank Crane

If you do your work with complete faithfulness

. . .


—Phillips Brooks

The vocation of every man and woman is to serve other people.

—Leo Tolstoy

In real love you want the other person’s good. In romantic love you want the other person.


Once we learn to touch this peace, we will be healed and transformed. It is not a

matter of fact; it is a matter of practice.

—Thich Nhat Hanh

He who knows when enough is enough will always have enough.


We must be the change we wish to see in the world.

—Mahatma Gandhi


you are making as genuine a


contribution to the substance of the universal good as is the most brilliant worker

whom the world contains.


Learn More on the Internet

Go to for information on an academic and professional organization

dedicated to progressive activism, restorative justice, and peacemaking.

See for information on a nonprofit foundation that focuses

on helping prison inmates on their inner journey.

Check out, a website/blog dedicated to

cutting-edge issues in peacemaking criminology.


I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

—Martin Luther King Jr.

Love cures people—both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.

—Karl Menninger

The love we give away is the only love we keep.

—Elbert Hubbard

In all conflict with evil, the method to be used is love and not force. When we use

evil methods to defeat evil, it is evil that wins.

—Sri Rodhakrishnan

The inner ear of each man’s soul hears the voice of life (find your work, and do it!).

Only by obedience to this command can he find peace.

—Frank Crane

If you do your work with complete faithfulness

. . .

you are making as genuine a

contribution to the substance of the universal good as is the most brilliant worker

whom the world contains.

—Phillips Brooks

The vocation of every man and woman is to serve other people.

—Leo Tolstoy

In real love you want the other person’s good. In romantic love you want the other person.


Once we learn to touch this peace, we will be healed and transformed. It is not a

matter of fact; it is a matter of practice.

—Thich Nhat Hanh

He who knows when enough is enough will always have enough.


We must be the change we wish to see in the world.

—Mahatma Gandhi




Peacemaking, justice, and ethics



1. The entire letter can be found in Joseph Campbell (1988),

The power of myth

. New York:

Doubleday, pp. 32–35.

2. Plato, Republic, 351d–352a.

3. This quotation is from the documentary film

Mother Teresa

, directed by Richard



Bartollas, C., & Braswell, M. (1993). Correctional treatment, peacemaking, and the new age


Journal of Crime & Justice, 16

, 43–59.

Braswell, M. (1990a). Peacemaking: A missing link in criminology.

The Criminologist,


(1), 3–5.

Braswell, M. (1990b).

Journey homeward: Stages along the way

. Chicago: Franciscan

Herald Press.

Braswell, M. (2004). Peacemaking boogie.

Justitia, 3

(1), 6.

Buechner, F. (1973).

Wishful thinking

. New York: Harper & Row.

Chuang-tzu, (1964).

Basic writings

. New York: Columbia University Press.

Cohen, C. (1971).

Civil disobedience

. New York: Columbia University Press.

de Bertodano, T. (Ed.). (1993).

Daily readings with Mother Teresa

. London: Fount.

Gibbs, J. (1993). Spirituality, ideology, and personal transformation: Some considerations

for peacemaking. Unpublished paper.

Lao-tzu, (1963).

The way of Lao-tzu (Tao Te Ching)

. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill.

Lozoff, B. (1987).

We’re all doing time

. Durham, NC: Human Kindness Foundation.

Lozoff, B. (1994). Letters.

Human Kindness Foundation Newsletter

, 5.

Lozoff, B., & Braswell, M. (1989).

Inner corrections: Finding peace and peace making


Cincinnati: Anderson.

Martin, R. (1993). Transpersonal psychology and criminological theory: rethinking the paradigm.

Journal of Crime & Justice

, 16

, 43–59.

Myers, L., & Chiang, C. (1993). Law enforcement officer and peace officer: reconciliation

using the feminine approach.

Journal of Crime & Justice, 16

, 31–43.

Noddings, N. (1986).

Caring: A feminine approach to ethics and moral education


Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Palmer, P. (1983).

To know as we are known

. San Francisco: Harper & Row.

Quinney, R. (1993). A life of crime: criminology and public policy and peacemaking.


of Crime and Justice

, 16

, 3–11.

Reps, P. (Ed.), (1919).

Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A collection of Zen and Pre-Zen writings


Garden City, NY: Doubleday.

Safransky, S. (Ed.), (1990).

Sunbeams: A book of quotations

. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic


Wozniak, J., Braswell, M., Vogel, R., & Blevins, K. (2008).

Transformative justice


Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.













Case Study 3–1 To Help or Not to Help?

To help or not to help? At 8:15 p.m., a criminal justice professor had just arrived in his

home city on a flight from Albuquerque, where he had lectured the previous day at the International

Academy in Roswell.

After picking up his luggage, the professor exited the airport gate and stood in line with

the other passengers who were waiting for the next shuttle bus. A few minutes later, a young

couple who appeared to be married arrived and elbowed their way in line, ahead of the professor

and others. The professor politely called the matter to their attention, asking them to

observe the social principle of “first come, first served.” The couple ignored the professor’s

remark. When the professor repeated his request that they move to the end of the line, the

husband became hostile, accusing the professor of being rude. Rather than escalate

the conflict, the professor said nothing more. He and the other passengers were tired

and the hour was late. When the shuttle finally arrived, everyone got on board and remained


On reaching his car, the professor packed his luggage in the trunk and drove toward the

parking lot exit. As he approached the exit, he noticed two persons flagging the passing cars

for assistance, to no avail. Taking a closer look at the two stranded individuals, the professor

was surprised to find that they were the same two people who had broken into line, and

the man was the one who had insulted the professor 25 min earlier. Although he

was tempted to continue driving, he stopped and, after rolling down his window, asked

the couple what kind of assistance they needed. When they realized who he was, the man

and woman were clearly both surprised and embarrassed. They were unable to look the

professor in the eye as they explained their predicament. In response, the professor procured

a jumper cable from the trunk of his car. Within 5 min he had brought their dead battery

back to life. During that time, not a word was spoken. As the couple prepared to drive

off, they finally looked at the professor and thanked him. The wife added, “We are sorry.”






From a conversation with Professor Sam Souryal, Sam Houston State University.

Evaluate this incident and the professor’s response from utilitarian, deontological, and


peacemaking ethical models. Which model fits best?

Would it have been just for the professor to have driven past the stranded couple, given


their previous behavior? Why or why not?

Choose one theme of peacemaking and explain why you think it would have


the greater impact on justice and ethics.

In your opinion, can peacemaking, justice, and ethics ever become fully


realized? Why or why not?

List and discuss the three themes of peacemaking, and explain the impact


they have on traditional police or corrections values.




What is your personal/professional philosophy? The most important aspect of our

personal and professional growth involves the values and beliefs that we hold dear.

Now that you have covered the first three chapters, with which theories and ideas

do you agree or disagree? What are your personal values, and on what beliefs are

they based? How do you plan to put these values and beliefs into practice in the

work environment of your chosen profession?



The United States continues to confront a drug crisis. While drug use in the general

population seems to be declining, drug use and sales among criminals are

continuing to increase. Some citizens are calling for stiffer penalties for illegal

drug use, while others are calling for decriminalization, a greater emphasis on

treatment, and even legalization of certain drugs, especially those associated with

the management of pain.

Suppose you were a staff assistant to a congressperson whose committee was

investigating the ethics of drug control policy.


What issues would be relevant to this assessment?


How could a morally correct approach to drug/crime policy be developed?


Whose rights would have to be protected?


What societal benefits and deficits would you consider?


How could this policy be developed in a way that promoted caring and

concern for all in society?






The End Of Chapther 3


Are you working on this, because it is showing closed on my end. I also have another Question out there requesting you. It's do today and it is very short. just 75 word limit! I need to know asap if you can do it?

DXJAnswerMagic :

Hi! Do you still the the DQ? (I'm not online on Tuesdays because I teach.) Please let me know. Thanks so much! DXJ


Hello, I was wondering where you were at on this assignment?

DXJAnswerMagic :

Starting the rough draft..............

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Oh ok, I was just checking in....

Why? DId you have a dilemma in mind for this?



You need to spend $3 to view this post. Add Funds to your account and buy credits.
DXJAnswerMagic and other Homework Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I am viewing it this in the morning. Have an exam to complete for tonight. I also want to get started sending you the info for next assignments. Is this ok with you?

It can wait until tomorrow.

Finish your exam first. OK?Smile DXJ

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I did look at it briefly - I don't know if I stated that all papers have to have three references min. One has to be from the reading source from the class and two others at least.

No, you didn't. I don't have your textbook information, the author, title, etc.

Why don't you just add that to the references?

I included two:-)

Does that work?

Since it is largely an experiential paper, I think that should work.

What do you think?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The info. I sent you (first three chapters) didn't contain it? I'm sorry!


Justice, Crime,and Ethics Seventh Edition by Michael C. Braswell,copyright 2012 Elsevier Inc.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

chapter 4 on it's way!


How police officers

learn ethics 4

Steven J. Ellwanger



black swans


instrumental value

latent content

manifest content

noble cause

occupational predisposition


terminal value

values-learned perspective

value predisposition

One of the most defining characteristics of the police occupation is the potential

use of coercive force, especially deadly force, to impose the will of the state

(Bittner, 1970). Another defining yet less well-understood characteristic is ethics.

Just as medicine, law, engineering, or other professions are characterized by ethics

that guide individual and group behavior, policing as an occupation contains its

own values and value system. These values provide a basis by which individual

behaviors and attitudes can be measured. In contrast to other professions, however,

learning ethics in policing is not entirely the product of education, socialization,

and training. In fact, learning often predates formal education and socialization

efforts as a result of individual, social, and historical factors. What is more, the

process of on-the-job police socialization and enculturation may both purposefully

and inadvertently threaten the positive ethical ideals and values brought to the

police profession by new recruits. A strong and pervasive deviant subculture

may exist in some instances, which can passively or actively teach unethical behaviors

to new police officers.

Ethics in policing bears directly on issues of reform, control, and the legitimacy

of law enforcement institutions in a democratic society. The first step in meeting

such challenges is to better understand the sources and content of police ethics,

so that administrators, citizens, legislatures, and the courts can more effectively

Justice, Crime, and Ethics.

© 2012 Elsevier Inc.. All rights reserved.


promote responsible police behavior. This chapter attempts to first identify and

discuss the various frameworks for understanding the sources of police ethics,

followed by the identification of several occupational ethics that run the risk of

violating legal, organizational, and societal standards. The chapter concludes with

a brief discussion of the various aspects of ethical transformations and implications

that police ethics hold for reform, control, and legitimacy in today's world.


Policing as an occupation is characterized by a distinct subculture (Crank, 2004;

Van Maanen, 1974). The term culture is often used to describe differences among

beliefs, laws, morals, customs, and other characteristics that set large groups apart.

Sometimes, however, there can be cultural differences among people who form a

single culture or group. Such a unique group within the larger social group is

referred to as a subculture. The primary distinction between cultures and subcultures

is that while sharing many of the values and beliefs of the larger culture,

the subculture shares values and beliefs that set them apart from the larger culture

in which they exist (Kappeler, Sluder, & Alpert, 2005).

When considering individual behavior within the subculture of policing, it is

often useful to consider the values embraced by and transmitted among its members.

In fact, Milton Rokeach (1973) argued that individual or group norms and

behaviors can often be attributed to particular patterns of adherence to universal

value orientations. A value as defined by Rokeach is "an enduring belief that a specific

mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or socially preferable"

(Rokeach, 1973:5). Thus, values can be distinguished by the extent to which to

they prescribe a specific mode of conduct or the extent to which they prescribe a

socially preferable end state. A value that identifies a socially preferable end-state

is a terminal value; a value that represents the preferred means to achieve that state

is an instrumental value (Rokeach, 1973; Zhao, He, & Lovrich, 1998).

Values, Rokeach continued, could be arranged into a value system. Rokeach

defined a value system as "an enduring organization of beliefs concerning preferable

modes of conduct or end-states of existence" (Rokeach, 1973:5). Rokeach also

contended that the total number of values of primary interest to people was relatively

limited. It is these value systems that identify preferable end-states and

modes of conduct and provide a basis for human decision-making. For example,

police may hold the value of "protecting the public" as a terminal value, whereas

"arresting criminals" might be an instrumental value.


There are two competing views that seek to explain the source of police ethics:

learned and imported. Most students of policing are quick to point to the forging

of the "police personality" resulting from the influence of basic training instructors,


field training officers, and the impersonal bureaucratic organization that shapes the

new recruit during his or her first few years. A competing-yet related-view

argues for the existence of an occupational predisposition. Such a predisposition

suggests that people who possess certain traits and personality characteristics are

attracted, or predisposed, to the profession of policing. In other words, policing is

just one of many occupations from which individuals choose. Those with a police

occupational predisposition are attracted to careers in law enforcement; those with

other personality traits and characteristics will choose alternative occupations

(Alpert & Dunham, 1997; Rokeach, Miller, & Snyder, 1971).

Chief among these traits and characteristics is a value predisposition. This valuepredisposition

perspective argues that individuals bring with them an identifiable

set of broader societal values into the organization. Personnel selection techniques

may actively screen for these values, while the processes of professionalization

and enculturation reinforce some and modify and/or replace others during the officer's

career. These values ultimately find expression in officer behaviors and attitudes,

or ethics. Pollock (1998) makes a distinction between morals and ethics

that is useful in distinguishing between the sources that guide behaviors in both

one's personal and professional lives. She notes that in contrast to morals, which

are the sum of a person's actions in every sphere of life, ethics are behaviors that

are related to an individual's profession. In this context, police ethics are behaviors

and attitudes of police officers that find expression while they are acting "under the

color of law." If one adopts this value-predisposition model and subscribes to this

definition of ethics, several value predispositions and their sources come to mind.

Conservatism and conformity

One of the primary goals of police personnel systems is to identify and retain individuals

who are conservative-compared to society as a whole-and conformist.

In fact, Wilson (1968) first observed that Chicago police officers tended to be unreceptive

to change, while Bayley and Mendelsohn (1969) noted that the Denver

police tended to be more conservative and more Republican than the community

as a whole and that age was not related to political orientation. This latter finding

suggests that it is the initial selection of officers rather than their socialization that

explains the tendency toward conservatism.

The literature seems to suggest that police work often tends to attract local and

family-oriented individuals who tend to be from the working class (Niederhoffer,

1967). Individuals who are attracted to police work are also inclined to espouse

"old-fashioned" values. They tend to see the world in black and white while overlooking

the fact that the outcomes of many decisions often involve value tradeoffs.

These individuals may possess military experience and come from families with a

history in law enforcement (Caldero & Crank, 2010). Finally, such people often

perceive police work to be socially significant. They view police work as having

a point, weight, interest, and impact on the lives and well being of other people

(Van Maanen, 1974).

CHAPTER 4 How police officers learn ethics

This tendency toward political and practical conservatism is reinforced by

police personnel selection systems that place a premium on conformity to

middle-class values. In fact, police selection practices such as the use of physical

agility tests, background investigations, polygraph examinations, psychological

tests, and oral interviews are all tools used to screen out applicants who have not

demonstrated conformity to traditional middle-class values (Gaines & Kappeler,

2005). Many of these selection techniques may have less to do with actual police

work and more to do with assessing an applicant's "adequacy" to be a moral agent

of the state. Kappeler et al. (2005) note that these techniques are designed more to

determine an applicant's physical prowess, sexual orientation, gender identification,

financial stability, employment history, and abstinence from alcohol or other

drug use than to determine their ability to perform the typical functions and duties

associated with police work (p. 285).

Noble cause, efficiency, and utilitarianism

In addition to the relative conservatism and conformity among those with an occupational

predisposition toward policing, there is also a commitment to the noble

cause. The noble cause is a moral commitment by police officers to make the

world a safer place in which to live (Caldero & Crank, 2010). According to

Caldero and Crank (2010), it is this moral predisposition that attracts people to

the occupation of policing, while those who are not committed to the "noble cause"

are quickly eliminated from the organization (Conti & Nolan, 2005). The source of

this value predisposition can be traced to enduring societal values.

A longstanding but now debunked myth is that police neutrally and evenhandedly

implement the law (Bayley & Bittner, 1984; Bittner, 1970; Lipsky,

1980). The reality is that police exercise an enormous amount of discretion, and

their values shape behavior in the absence of objective standards by which behavior

can measured. An enduring social value that is imported into the occupation is

one that has historically evaluated individual and group police performance based

on the crime control mandate (Manning, 1997). Society expects police to "control"

crime. Unfortunately, the emphasis on the "ends" of catching criminals may often

come at a cost to the institution's "duty" or "means" to protect the sanctity of the

law (Pollock, 2005). In other words, police behaviors were often considered to be

ethical if they achieved the desired end of getting the bad guy off the streets-even

if it meant compromising individual civil liberties in the process.

The "ends justify the means" value system is reinforced by other imported U.S.

values as well. Specifically, police, like U.S. citizens in general, tend to favor the

underdog (or the victim), emphasize that no one stands above the law (Caldero

& Crank, 2010), and often stress professional efficiency at the cost of other

values, such as effectiveness, equity, and responsiveness (Ford & Morash, 2002;

Giacomazzi & McGarrell, 2002; Manning, 1997:31). Efficiency as a criterion by

which police performance has traditionally been measured has been rationalized

by the concept of utilitarianism. In other words, ethical police behavior is that

behavior that leads to the realization of the "greatest good for the greatest number."

The greatest good for the greatest number has often come to mean, under the professional

paradigm of policing, that efficiency (crime control) is primus inter pares

("first among equals") among competing values such as equity in due process

(individual rights) (Caldero & Crank, 2010; Packer, 1968) and responsiveness in

police services (Cordner, 1997).

Crime fighting

Related to efficiency in crime control is an individual's commitment to the role of

"crime fighter." Several theoretical frameworks have been offered by police scholars

to distinguish the various roles that police adopt in the performance of their

duties (Broderick, 1977; Coates, 1972; Muir, 1977; White, 1972). Although these

popular frameworks have yet to yield empirical support (Hochstedler, 1981), they

are useful in organizing thoughts and comparing popular notions of various police

roles. Consistent among these frameworks is the ideal of police as crime fighters.

Police do more, however, than question suspicious persons, make arrests, collect

evidence, and conduct interviews. In fact, police often fulfill a social worker or

human services role. Some empirical evidence suggests that this is the role that

occupies the majority of an officer's time (Wilson, 1968). Police often spend more

time acting as brokers who connect citizens with valuable community resources,

assist stranded motorists, provide directions, resolve family and neighbor disputes,

and help citizens in other important ways. Many new recruits come to policing

with a Dirty Harry conception of police work, whereas older, more experienced

officers tend to emphasize the human service as well as the crime-fighter role

because it yields the greatest social rewards (Kraska & Kappeler, 1997; Manning,

1996, 1997).


According to the predisposition model, ethics in police work is the product of

values that are imported (or brought from the larger society) into the organization.

They are enduring social values that are actively screened for during the recruitment

and selection processes, with conservatism and conformity being the product

of individual and family life experiences. They are also the product of one's socioeconomic

status and commitment to "old-fashioned" values that view reality as an

objective truth with no shades of gray while seeing efficiency as a neutral and

desirable goal of individual and group actions.

The commitment by individual officers to get the "bad guy" off the street not

only comes from previous life and family experience but also longstanding U.S.

values that have favored the underdog, with psychological roots grounded in the

idea that anyone can achieve the American Dream if they just work hard enough

(Messner & Rosenfeld, 2001). Values predisposition is also the product of the

50 CHAPTER 4 How police officers learn ethics

perceived legitimacy of the law resulting from a democratic process and the neutrality

and fairness of its application ("all are equal under the law"). The reality

is, however, that even the most open and democratic processes run the risk of

becoming unduly influenced by either a majority or a minority group who may

choose to distort the "will of the people" (Green & Shapiro, 1994; Hummel,

1994; Mastrofski, 1988; Stone, 2002). Similarly, the myth of neutral application

of the law has long been debunked as institutional and extralegal factors have often

been shown to determine how and when the law is applied (Klockars, 1988;

Mastrofski, 1988; Spears & Spohn, 1997).

Social construction

Popular media depictions along with societal expectations may influence not only

who will be attracted to the police occupation but also who will be deemed qualified

for employment. The occupational predisposition perspective argues that individuals

with certain traits or characteristics will be attracted to the profession.

Much of this attraction is socially constructed-often inaccurately-by images of

police in the media. The popular conception of police portrayed in the media is that

policing is primarily about fighting crime.

Despite the various roles played by police and the importance of the social services

role in occupying an officer's time, that of crime fighter and "supercop" are

the dominant images portrayed by the media (Manning, 1996). Such images

misrepresent the reality of police work, most of which is more mundane and

tedious. The media also convey images of officers with nearly superhuman abilities,

capable of deducing the motivations of criminals using highly complex and

sophisticated forensic approaches. The reality is that in most crimes the criminal

is "known" to the complainant or to the police at the time the crime comes to

the attention of law enforcement (Reiss & Bordua, 1967:43). Such crimes are

solved the "old-fashioned" way-through interviewing and traditional evidencegathering

procedures. These images not only reinforce the crime-fighter role to

attract individuals with such an orientation, but also they have implications for

the overall organization of police and the provision of their services.

Crime-fighter images attract to the profession people whose view of police

work is congruent with the dominant media image, while the police institution in

turn reacts to the media's depictions (Manning, 1996). For example, partly as a

result of popular television shows such as CSI, police are now feeling increased

pressure from juries, the public, and victims to-in short order-provide forensic

evidence to secure a conviction. Programs such as CSI shape the public's perception

of the relationship between police and the criminal justice system. In response,

agencies are specializing-creating crime labs and/or specialized investigative

units-and relying on reactive forms of policing (science and technology) to control

crime (Kraska & Kappeler, 1997).

Equally important is the potential impact of the media on the police institution

with respect to ensuring due-process protections for citizens. Of particular

relevance are those images depicting officers using "dirty means" to achieve good

ends, such as those popularized in the Dirty Harry movies. Historically, these

movies were a response to widespread societal sentiments that the police had

become "handcuffed" by the Warren Court through such landmark cases as

Mapp v. Ohio (1961) and Miranda v. Arizona (1966). What we can see is that

the media and society both influence which types of individuals will find policing

a desirable occupation while simultaneously shaping the police agency's response

to these images. The result is that agencies may feel pressure to actively recruit and

screen for both people who adopt a predominantly crime-fighter orientation and

those who view efficiency rather than ensuring due-process protections as the

dominant value to be pursued in police work (Caldero & Crank, 2010; Manning,

1997; Pollock, 1998).

As the occupation of policing has become more professionalized through education

requirements demanding 2- or 4-year degrees, individuals entering law

enforcement occupations are increasingly exposed to courses such as criminal justice

ethics. Such courses have the potential to transmit positive police values.

Although the probability of exposure to ethics in policing is greater in some academic

programs than others, curricula in most programs do not require such training.

As a result, exposure to police ethics is most likely to occur informally-if at

all-in introductory policing courses. In addition, many policing courses are taught

by part-time faculty who usually work, or have worked, in law enforcement

(Caldero & Crank, 2010).

Ethics taught by these instructors usually is conveyed through real-world examples

that may on occasion tend to reinforce the crime-control model and its emphasis

on efficiency at the cost of other important values such as protecting individual

rights. Because most students interested in law enforcement may already be predisposed

to the moral mandate of policing (to make the world a safer place), they may

not recognize this value tradeoff. Fighting crime and protecting individual rights

can be a difficult balance to maintain. Should instructors be critical of certain

aspects of the policing institution, students who are morally predisposed toward

the noble cause may misinterpret that to mean the professor is antipolice (Caldero

& Crank, 2010).



A competing perspective of the source of police values argues that police values

are not imported from society at large but are instead learned on the job. This

values-learned perspective argues that police values are learned through the

process of socialization and culturalization within a particular police agency.

Although these two frameworks are analytically distinct, in practice they are

related (see Figure 4.1). The socialization model of police ethics argues that

norms and values are learned through the process of professionalization. In this

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

52 CHAPTER 4 How police officers learn ethics

regard, police are no different than other professionals, such as physicians and

lawyers, who learn their ethics through training and practice (Alpert & Dunham,

1997; Gaines & Kappeler, 2005; Kappeler et al., 2005). The process of organizational

socialization seeks to "fuse" the officer to the organization by providing

him or her with a set of rules, perspectives, prescriptions, techniques, and tools

necessary to participate in the organization (Van Maanen, 1974). In a sense, this

Individuals with certain

values and attitudes are

attracted to this occupation:

Agency Screens

for Conformity,


and Commitment

to Noble Cause


Learning: FTO,

"War Stories,"



Police Values


by Sub-Culture

to future



Values Learned



Formal Learning



of Values




Processes and

Basic Training

  • Old Fashion Values
  • Commitment to

Fighting Crime

  • Military Experience
  • Family History in

Law Enforcement


Relationship Between Value Predisposition and Values-Learned Perspectives

The values-learned perspective: socialization and culture 53

socialization process seeks to create a "working personality" or "police personality"

within the new recruit as she experiences distinct occupational phases

during her career: choice, introduction, encounter, and metamorphosis (see

Figure 4.1).


As stated previously, although the values-learned perspective is analytically distinct

from the value-predisposition perspective, in practice there is much overlap,

and it is at this stage where most of that overlap occurs. This values-learned perspective

does not deny that police work attracts individuals with certain traits

and characteristics. It further elaborates on the role that police personnel selection

systems share with shaping an individual's value system. To a large extent, individuals

choose the occupation for what the profession is perceived to offer. Chief

among these benefits is the type of work.

The qualities of police work that prospective candidates find most appealing are

the nonroutine, out-of-doors, active, and socially significant aspects afforded by

the occupation. In contrast to other occupations in which workers are confined to

cubicles performing repetitive, routine tasks under relatively close supervision,

police work promises much the opposite. It promises individuals the opportunity

to go to work each day not knowing what events or circumstances they will

encounter during their shift. Although calls for service may be classified similarly,

no two calls are exactly alike. Because most work by police officers is performed

in the absence of direct supervision and because most circumstances encountered

by police are too complex to be strictly regulated through standard operating procedures,

decision making is highly discretionary (Wilson, 1989). Such discretion

and freedom are attractive lures, especially for people with previous experience

in more stagnant, highly bureaucratic work environments.

Perhaps the most important virtue of the occupation for those who select police

work is the perceived meaningfulness of the work. In contrast to occupations that

primarily exist to generate net profits (such as that of the stockbroker, banker, or

salesperson), police work offers the promise of providing a net social benefit. Individuals

are often attracted to policing because they believe that the work has a positive

impact on the lives and wellbeing of others. These characteristics of police

work are also buttressed by job security and a reasonable salary with respect to

the education requirements.

The value-predisposition perspective would stop here without acknowledging

the role of the organization in shaping officer ethics. The values-learned perspective

goes further, however, in exploring and examining how the police are socialized

by the profession itself to act and behave in a manner that allows them

to continue their participation in the organization. This process of forging the

"working personality" begins when an individual makes a decision to join the organization.

It does so by first employing a rigorous and protracted selection process.

This process not only ensures a homogeneous group of individuals possessing

54 CHAPTER 4 How police officers learn ethics

middle-class values but also has the effect of creating a sense among the new

recruit that the organization is elite.

Some studies indicate that the recruitment and selection process takes an average

of 8.1 months in large departments (Walker & Katz, 2002). In some agencies,

it is estimated that only one in 100 applicants will make it to the employment ranks

(Gaines & Kappeler, 2005). The fact that the organization would devote so much

time and money before selecting an individual to become a member of the organization

signals to the prospective recruit that the police agency is an important and

challenging place to work (Van Maanen, 1974). It is also during the recruitment

and selection phases that the police agency attempts to portray itself in the most

favorable light. In addition, potential recruits receive support and encouragement

from existing officers through generational and friendship networks.


The optimistic and uncritical view held by the recruit of the agency and police

work in general soon begins to fade as the process of professionalization continues

during basic training. The novice officer begins to learn what police work is really

like. Aside from the technical and mechanical aspects that dominate police recruit

training, such as instruction in firearms usage, driving, first aid, self-defense, and

other use-of-force tactics, the new recruit begins to experience subtle shifts in

values and attitudes during this phase of his career. Prior to this socialization process,

the recruit is said to be at his ethical zenith-having entered the profession

with high ideals and positive values. It is during basic training, though, that the

rookie begins to adopt negative values that are in conflict with a number of legal

standards and core societal values (Conti & Nolan, 2005).

The once-positive view of the agency held by the new recruit is quickly

challenged as the recruit learns that the bureaucracy in which he or she now works

is highly formal, mechanical, and often arbitrary. The supportive and positive view

of the agency the recruit held during the choice stage may now give way to one

that begins to see the agency as a control instrument, concerned primarily with predictability,

stability, and efficiency. The new recruit is also taught the value of

group cohesion and solidarity as a result of distinguishing training garb, group

exercises, training officers' commands to "show unity," and shared experiences

with other recruits. The rookie officer also learns that good behavior is likely to

go unnoticed, whereas bad behavior will be punished. Finally, the recruit learns

that bad behavior is often punished arbitrarily, based on the context in which it

occurs. The new recruits quickly learn that it is in their best interest to remain

"under the radar" or become "invisible" to protect themselves from hostile and

unsympathetic administrators and other outside groups (Crank, 2004).

Aside from the organizational forces that begin to shape new recruit values and

attitudes at this stage, the rookie officer receives lessons in police work through

formal and informal instruction. Formally, recruits are introduced to police work

through veteran officers and outside experts. The primary goal of this type of

The values-learned perspective: socialization and culture 55

instruction is to satisfy criminal and procedural requirements while reducing exposure

to civil liability (Buerger, 1998). Informal learning occurs primarily through

the use of "war stories," and it is this type of learning that has the greatest potential

to generate unethical behavior.

War stories are narratives presented to an academy class that describe a particular

incident or circumstance (Ford, 2003). These narratives are meant to provide

direction for officers by giving them guidance as to how they should experience

the world if they are to act as "real" police officers (Shearing & Ericson, 1991).

War stories also serve to give concrete meaning and highlight the reality of police

work. These stories are often used to complement formal instruction and are shared

at the discretion of the trainers who themselves are police veterans. War stories

often contain two sources of content: manifest and latent.

The "overt or obvious message of the story" is referred to as manifest content;

the latent content is the covert message of story-or "the message beneath the

message" (Ford, 2003). Not all war stories contain latent content, and some

instructors inadvertently or unknowingly send a message they do not realize is

being sent. The latent content of some stories may contradict the primary message

of instruction. Such messages are sometimes referred to as black swans. For example,

Buerger (1998) cites the following anonymous quotation from police trainers,

illustrating how war stories often contradict the primary message of instruction:

. . . we're just spouting the official line on everything, all the while strongly suggesting

that it was all bullshit and that we would learn the real stuff out on the

street-"ya know, we can't tell you to slap the shit out of those punk gang-bangers

back in the alley here, but don't worry about that, you'll learn soon enough."

Although all war stories don't necessarily send messages that contradict social,

legal, and societal standards, many still have the potential to transmit negative

values and attitudes that threaten to erode positive ones. For example, in his analysis

of 269 war stories, Ford (2003) notes that the manifest and latent content of

the majority of these stories contained useful messages that taught recruits street

skills while emphasizing the danger and uncertainty surrounding the occupation.

There were, however, other stories that contained content ranging from ways to

obtain "freebies," to meet women while on duty, and to sleep and shirk duties.

In addition, several of these stories contained justifications for using excessive

force, such as "just hit the brakes and have the big mouth get waffled on the

screen" (p. 92). In the end, Ford's analysis demonstrated that the range of content

in police war stories is wide and includes everything from encouraging the violation

of rights, making racist comments, poor treatment of citizens, failure to perform

one's duty, and verbally berating citizens.


The previous stages of the police socialization process set the stage for a fundamental

shift in values rather than the fine tuning of existing ones. It is here that

56 CHAPTER 4 How police officers learn ethics

the popular images constructed about police by the media-the core American

values, the lofty ideals of police practice professed in basic training-are transformed

and replaced by distinct police subculture values. The primary mode of

value transmission is through the field training officer, who enjoys the privilege

of evaluating the rookie's job performance and ultimately making a recommendation

regarding her continued employment at the end of her probationary period.

A field training officer (FTO) is a veteran officer who has been on patrol for

several years. The FTO is the primary person through whom recruits learn how

to perform "real" police work. In fact, the new recruit quickly learns that much

of what is learned in the academy does not readily translate into practice on the

street and that the police subculture exists to protect itself from hostile and unsympathetic

forces. As a result, often the first thing the FTO tells the new recruit is to

"forget what you learned in the academy."

Instruction by the FTO is often reinforced when many of the war stories told

during basic training actually come to life. The new recruit discovers that there

often exists a difference between the theory (as taught in basic training) and the

practice (as experienced on the street) of policing. For example, Van Maanen

(1974) recounts one officer's experience with attempting to explain to a citizen

the law regarding speeding:

. . . Keith was always telling me to be forceful, to not back down and to never try

and explain the law or what we are doing to a civilian. I didn't really know what

he was talking about until I tried to tell some kid why we have laws about speeding.

Well, the more I tried to tell him about traffic safety, the angrier he got. I

was lucky to just get his XXXXX XXXXXcock on the citation. When I came back to

the patrol car, Keith explained to me just where I'd gone wrong. You really

can't talk to those people out there, they just won't listen to reason.

Because some of the lessons learned from the recruit's basic training experiences

fail to easily translate into practice, the FTO becomes the primary mechanism by

which the new recruit learns which type of behavior is appropriate for each different


The police uniform and gun are key elements of the occupation that serve to

distinguish police from others. They are symbols of power, and such power often

provokes challenges from those who are subjected to it. As a result, police often

experience open criticisms and taunts, especially from juveniles and minorities

(Kappeler & Gaines, 2005). Hostile reception by the public does not square with

the recruit's reasons for becoming an officer-to serve the public. The new recruit

also soon discovers that some citizens will attempt to manipulate the recruit's inexperience,

to achieve some desired end. The result of such experiences is that the

recruit may come to view citizens with suspicion and, in some cases, as enemies

and outsiders who can't be trusted (Crank, 2004).

These experiences are subsequently combined with the new recruit's increasing

awareness that much of police work is about "patching holes in the social fabric

rather than weaving webs to catch criminals" (Sherman, 1982). Recruits also

The values-learned perspective: socialization and culture 57

become aware that the administration, legal system, and media are as adversarial as

the general public (Crank, 2004). The FTO quickly imparts to the new recruit that

most police work is mundane and tedious and that only a few calls constitute "real

police work." Those calls that do constitute real police work are often referred to as

hot calls, or calls for service that may result in bodily harm for the officer or their

partners. The way rookie officers respond to these types of calls often serves as the

primary basis by which the FTO makes a recommendation for a rookie's retention

or severance. Such calls measure the rookie's willingness to share the risks of

police work (Van Maanen, 1974). Responses to these calls take on new significance

and present opportunities to reinforce in the FTO's mind that the rookie is

not afraid to use force, protect other officers, and remain loyal.

In addition to testing an individual's commitment to the group by evaluating

their response to potentially dangerous calls for service, the new recruit's solidarity

is further tested by assessing the extent to which the recruit will support or ignore

behaviors that run counter to department policy. Examples include conducting personal

business while on duty or accepting gratuities. The assessment of an individual's

willingness to engage in or ignore behaviors that are prohibited by

department policy is a product of the group's recognition that the administration

(or the "brass")-like the public-cannot be trusted, because they are primarily

interested in protecting their own "asses" (Crank, 2004). As a result, officers often

attempt to resist administrative control by limiting the flow of information to their

supervisors (Manning, 1977, 1997). Recruits who are unwilling to participate in-

or, at the very least, ignore-such behaviors quickly find themselves isolated

within the police subculture (Caldero & Crank, 2010; Kappeler et al., 2005).

Not only has this phase of the recruit's occupational career taught him or her to

view the public and administration with cynicism and suspicion, it has also significantly

altered the rookie officer's view of police work. The new officer has learned

at this stage that the legal system tends to be "soft" on crime. Costello (1972) noted

that 75 years before the "due process revolution" of the Warren Court, the police

were inclined to believe that the courts would not back them up and that punishment,

when it did come, was not swift. The new recruit observes that the legal system

appears soft on crime when "bad guys get off on a technicality" or prosecutors

decide that a case lacks merit or is better adjudicated with a plea-bargain deal.

In contrast to the legal system, which evaluates its decisions and behavior based

on some legal standard (e.g., the decision to prosecute based on the worth or merit

of a case), police officers tend to evaluate their behavior based on the "ideal

policeman" as described in occupational lore and imagery (Manning, 1978). The

"ideal policeman" standard is to get the bad guy off the street, which means using

the law or any other tool at the officer's disposal. It is assumed that the ideal police

officer is more discerning than the law and knows who is bad (Crank, 2004). In

response, the new recruit is often taught to leverage and manipulate the law to

achieve the standards of the ideal officer. The new recruit will often have his or

her loyalty tested by being encouraged to engage in several legal violations: such

as to "testily" (to give false testimony), to "dropsy" (remove drugs from a suspect

58 CHAPTER 4 How police officers learn ethics

during a pat-down and then discover them in plain sight on the ground), to do "the

shake" (similar to dropsy only conducted during a vehicle stop), or to "stiff in a

call" (calling and reporting a crime as though one is a citizen who had witnessed

it) (Caldero & Crank, 2010), all in an attempt to outsmart criminals and leverage

the law when they believe someone is guilty.

The idea of an inept legal system also teaches the recruit that because the system

is soft, slow, and at times arbitrary, deterrence can only be achieved through

the immediate concrete exercise of coercion in an attempt to be more aggressive

and smarter than criminals. This "street justice" not only includes legal abuses such

as those described here but can also include psychological abuses such as the use

of racial epithets and intimidation, or even physical abuses such as administering

the "third degree." Each of these examples of misconduct is aimed not only at distributing

justice when it is perceived that the legal system cannot be counted on to

do so but also provide a measure of deterrence as well.


The final stage of the recruit's occupational career is metamorphosis. This is where

the "rookie" morphs both socially and psychologically into a full-fledged officer.

This transition in social status and occupational self-identity occurs at the end of

the probationary period when the recruit is assigned a position free of institutional

dependency and where his or her responsibility and autonomy are more or less

equalized with respect to other officers (Van Maanen, 1974). It is during this stage

that the officer adopts the self-conception of "cop" that is in part the product of the

cynicism, sense of abandonment, and, ultimately, disenchantment that the recruit

now has for the occupation.

After becoming more independent, officers learn within a short period of

time all the aspects of their work. They learn the geography of their "beat" or district,

the social skills of policing, what forms to fill out, and the nuances of the

bureaucracy. At this point, police work can become more mundane, tedious, and

mechanical. In addition, the police officer begins to realize that police work is

more about providing social services and adhering to legal and organizational standards

to avoid trouble than it is about solving crimes.

Through war stories, the supervision of their FTO, and finally through recruits'

own experience, cynicism, and a sense of abandonment may crystallize in their

minds. It is at this point-after achieving institutional independence and assuming

equal responsibility-that the forging of the "working personality" may be completed

with a psychological morph. Psychologically, the officer may become more

cynical while feeling a sense of abandonment from what appears to be a hostile,

unappreciative, and sometimes unsupportive public. This cynicism and sense of

abandonment are further reinforced by the realization and perception that the

police bureaucracy is often arbitrary, mechanical, impersonal, and home to an

adversarial administration concerned primarily with self-preservation. These sentiments

are further strengthened by a legal system that appears to be more concerned

The core of police values 59

Stage: Values

The Desire and Ability to become a Police Officer:

Values Screened for and Reinforced by the Agency:

Learning of the Skills and Behaviors Required to be a Police Officer:

Bridging Theory and Practice:

Psychological and Social Metamorphosis:

Imported Values: Perceived social significance of job, desire to be a "crime

fighter" and work for an elite organization, previous military or family law

enforcement experience.

Commitment to noble cause, conformity and conservatism, adherence to

middle-class values.

Loyalty, solidarity, conformity, cynicism for bureaucracy, and distrust of "brass"

from "war stories" and experience with the organization.

Field Training Officer teaches realities of police work and how to behave in

situations where skills learned in Basic Training don't match reality. Officer

learns to distrust citizens, courts, media, and administration; becomes highly

cynical; and experiences a sense of abandonment and disenchantment for the


Officer achieves the "full status" of a police officer both psychologically and

socially. The officer then becomes a source for the future transmission of

learned police values.

Occupational Stages and Values Learned

with ensuring due process protections, achieving high conviction rates, and effectively

managing correctional populations than with helping police get the bad guys

off the street.

What emerges from the socialization process is a relatively consistent set of values

that are continually transmitted and reinforced among the police subculture

through the process of culturalization. Whether the new recruit accepts these subcultural

values is in part determined by the extent to which individual and organizational

factors are able to counteract the influences of a corrupt and deviant

subculture. The content of values transmitted and embraced by this subculture that

may contribute to unethical behavior includes the use of force, time, group loyalty,

fringe benefits, justice, and discretion (see also Sherman, 1982).



Use of force should not be viewed as a last resort for controlling a situation. In

fact, the use of force is necessary to achieve deterrence, convey group loyalty,

and achieve some measure of justice. Instead of being an act of last resort for

controlling a situation (Fyfe, 2005; Manning, 1997), force is often extolled among

60 CHAPTER 4 How police officers learn ethics

the police subculture for its ability to signal to the public that the police are not

weak. Use of force also conveys to other police officers that the officer can be

counted on should a violent encounter occur. Force demonstrates loyalty to the

group while providing a measure of deterrence for those who may consider future

attacks against the police. Force also acts as a crime deterrent for its immediate and

concrete properties, as opposed to the legal system, which operates more on the

threat of punishment.


Officers can never respond too quickly to a call for "real" police services, nor can

they respond too slowly to a "garbage" call. When not responding to calls for service,

an officer's time is his or her own. Given the complexity of police work and

the difficulty in maintaining direct supervision, officers enjoy considerable latitude

in defining their work. The consequence of this situation is that some officers relegate

certain calls for service to the status of "garbage"-those that usually relate

to the social work or order-maintenance roles such as in domestic violence cases.

"Garbage calls" do not conform to police officers' conception of what constitutes

"real" police work, as depicted in the media and reinforced by their FTO and basic

training instructors. Those calls for service related to the crime-fighter role (e.g., a

robbery in progress) are elevated to a much higher status because they afford the

greatest opportunity for social rewards from the public, administrators, and other

officers. When not responding to calls for service, an officer's time is his or her

own and the officer should not be required to engage in proactive forms of policing.

This belief is reinforced by quotas used by administrators that are reinterpreted

by officers as production maximums, not minimums. Thus, once an officer has met

the minimum quota, there exists a strong incentive to shirk duty through sleeping,

ignoring opportunities to engage in proactive forms of policing, and/or pretending

not to hear a call for service.


Don't trust anyone except your fellow officer-not the public, the "brass," nor the

media. Group loyalty provides protection from the real dangers of police work and

from a hostile and unsympathetic public and administration and serves to provide

emotional support for performing a difficult task. Officers often feel socially rejected

by a public that once inspired them to join the occupation. They learn that even the

most seemingly innocuous events and people may pose a problem for an officer later

(e.g., a female motorist smiling and flirting with a male officer while he's issuing a

ticket, only to later file a complaint). The officer also learns that the "brass" is more

concerned about reducing exposure to civil liability, managing the department's public

image, and satisfying other organizational demands than about helping officers get

the bad guys off the street. In a world filled with adversarial and unsympathetic

groups, police learn that unbending loyalty is essential for the group's survival. This

The core of police values 61

loyalty comes in the form of physical (use of force when necessary to protect other

officers and the institution), legal (fabricating evidence, corroborating false testimony,

etc.), and emotional support. Officers who do not provide unconditional loyalty

quickly find themselves isolated within the police subculture.

Fringe benefits

Police perform a difficult task, one that can be dangerous and that requires that they

deal with society's "undesirables." Given the dangers of the occupation and the clientele

with whom they often interact, police often feel they are underpaid. The corollary

is that any rewards extended for their service or in appreciation are a form of

deserved and appropriate compensation. Departments generally prohibit the acceptance

of gratuities. Although citizens and merchants may want to extend a gratuity to

officers in the form of a discount or a free cup of coffee as a gesture of appreciation,

organizational policy generally prohibits the acceptance of such gratuities. Despite

these potential problems, officers see gratuities as a form of just compensation for

doing a difficult job that is otherwise woefully undercompensated.


The legal system is untrustworthy. As a result, justice is sometimes best served on the

street, based on personal rather than legal considerations. Due process protections

are often at odds with the crime control mandate of police. At the very least, these

protections postpone and prescribe punishment in accordance with state statutes.

A police officer's conception of justice is more personal and immediate. To the officer,

it is the concrete exercise of coercion to control situations and individuals.

Police generally resist making an arrest for misdemeanor public order offenses if

another strategy can resolve the problem. If, however, a suspect is guilty of not being

deferential and respectful to an officer (often referred to as "contempt of cop"), an

arrest may be desirable for its ability to mete out immediate justice. This form of

"distributive justice" is different than "legal justice." Distributive justice is more

about the officer's personal conviction that the individual deserves punishment

rather than about legal rights. Many times officers are aware that arrests under such

circumstances will not be carried forward by prosecutors, so they may make an

arrest based on false charges. At the very least, officers recognize that the arrest-

even if charges are not formally filed by the prosecutor-is itself punishment. The

social stigma associated with arrest, lost time from work, and legal expenses borne

by the citizen are all forms of punishment, regardless of the legal system's response.


Enforcement of the law, except in the most serious instances, should be based not

only on what the law says but also on individual characteristics. Whether or not to

enforce the law may be as much about the characteristics of the individual suspect

as it is about legal considerations. Age, race, socioeconomic status, gender

62 CHAPTER 4 How police officers learn ethics

relationship to the victim, and a suspect's demeanor are all extralegal factors that

determine how and when the law is applied. The young, the poor, minorities,

and people who are disrespectful to police are more likely to experience the full

enforcement of the law.


Although the prevalence and strength of questionable values are not as widespread

today as in the past, the way officers react to these factors can be described

as an officer's moral career. The moral career values, according to Lawrence

Sherman (1982), consist of distinct aspects that threaten to move officers from

the pinnacle of positive values that drove their desire to protect persons, property,

and constitutional rights in an impartial and exemplary manner, to the adoption of

behaviors that are contrary to departmental, legal, and societal standards. The

stages of an individual's moral career identified by Sherman are illustrated in

Figure 4.3.

The working environments officer's experience contain a variety of factors that

may encourage or discourage the adoption of unethical behaviors. Some of these

contingencies may include things like levels of supervision and oversight experienced

by officers and the type of work they do. Levels of supervision and type

of work (e.g., patrol vs. vice crime) may create opportunity and temptations to

engage in certain types of unethical behavior. For example, all things being equal,

officers experiencing low levels of supervision or working vice crimes are more

likely than others to have unethical behavior go undetected, while they experience

Aspect: Experience:






Factors experienced by the officer within his or her working

environment that encourage or discourage unethical behavior.

Particular experience by officers that challenge their existing

morality, or allow for the interpretation of others' morality

based on behavior.

Situational justification of unethical behavior.

"Slippery slope" progression of unethical behavior.


Aspects and Environment of an Officer's Moral Career.

Moral career 63

more opportunity and temptation to engage in such types of misconduct as stealing.

Similarly, many types of unethical behavior require the transmission of skills. For

example, planting evidence such as a firearm to justify a police shooting may

require teaching another officer how to do so without being detected. This may

not only include how to obtain an untraceable firearm and remove fingerprints

but also placing the firearm in the victim's hands and subsequently discharging

the firearm to leave gunpowder residue to support claims that the officer was fired

on. Contingencies within the individual's work environment, therefore, can produce

opportunities, incentives, and skills that encourage or discourage the assimilation

of unethical behaviors.

The road to becoming a corrupt, or "bent," police officer is also riddled with

moral experiences that challenge an officer's sense of existing morality. For example,

a moral experience will likely arise when an officer witnesses another officer

violate department or legal standards. Violation of these standards may run counter

to values held by an ethical officer. In these instances, officers will have to make a

choice as to whether they should allow or participate in such behavior or challenge

or escape it through quitting their job or requesting a transfer. A moral experience

often leads to the adoption of unethical behavior when it is accompanied by


Apologia encompasses situation-based justified rationalizations that reduce the

psychological pain and sense of responsibility experienced by those who engage in

behaviors that are not congruent with their ethical values and sense of responsibility.

The only way, then, for the individual to continue the behavior is to provide a

rationalization. For example, an officer may steal something from the site of a burglary

and justify that behavior by convincing herself that "no one really gets hurt"

because the item is covered by the insurance company. Other rationalizations may

include convincing oneself that one deserves such rewards because of the level of

danger or nature of the work.

The final aspect of an individual's moral career identified by Sherman (1982)

concerns stages. The concept of stages recognizes that the process of becoming

"bent" is progressive. Unethical behavior begins on a "slippery slope." The transformation

of an ethical officer to an unethical one begins with more mild and

seemingly innocuous forms of behavior, such as accepting gratuities and small

bribes. These actions provide the contingencies, moral experiences, and learning

of situational justifications that lead to more aggressive and active forms of unethical

behavior, such as stealing, testifying, extortion, and physical and legal violations

(or worse, if left unchecked).

Learn More on the Internet

For more information on ethics and police training, go to and search on

the keyword ethics.

64 CHAPTER 4 How police officers learn ethics



Police misconduct is not new. It is as old as the institution itself. What has changed

since the emergence of the public police force is the form of misconduct. The

learning and teaching of police ethics bear directly on issues of control, reform,

and legitimacy of policing in a democratic society. Of particular relevance is the

role of emerging police paradigms and changing social sentiments. Police misconduct

today is characterized more by the abuse of authority (noble cause corruption)

and economic corruption than misconduct associated with using police as political

instruments. This is in large part the product of changing social conditions and the

"professional era" of policing that has adopted a crime control mandate.

Community-oriented policing (COP) and problem-oriented policing (POP)

present issues with respect to control of the institution where the learning and

teaching of police ethics are to some extent the residue of informal on-the-job

learning. Specifically, these emerging police paradigms require that officer discretion

be increased so that police can effectively engage in proactive forms of policing

to solve problems. If standard operating procedures (SOPs) are going to give

way to discretion, officer behaviors and attitudes are going to have to be informed

by positive police values. The informal on-the-job learning that currently exists

and that may facilitate the transmission of negative values presents real challenges

for today's police administrators.

If administrators are going to manage the transition to COP and POP effectively

while also controlling police misconduct, learning and teaching police ethics must

rely more on formal mechanisms. Administrators may consider recruiting officers

who hold a more realistic view of police work while simultaneously increasing

education requirements. They will also have to rely on teaching police ethics

through leading by example. This includes not only emphasizing and acting at

the highest ethical standards of conduct but also modifying administrative processes

to create incentives favoring such behaviors. For example, individual police

performance has historically been evaluated on output measures that may inadvertently

introduce incentives to engage in unethical behavior (e.g., "number of arrests

or crimes cleared"). Measures of individual police performance that may increase

the likelihood of ethical behaviors might include measuring citizen satisfaction

with respect to an officer's police work. Administrators will also need to be cognizant

of the role that informal messages convey in shaping officer behavior and consider

formal training in ethics by internal affairs departments, other investigative

divisions, or other outside consultants.

Not only do these emerging police paradigms present challenges to organizational

and administrative reforms, but changing social sentiments also introduce

challenges with respect to the legitimacy of the institution. The importance of

police services has increased in recent years, as demonstrated by the increasing

variety of police roles. As with other occupations, society views police as experts

capable of solving many different problems. The extent to which the police are

unable to fulfill these expectations is the degree to which the legitimacy of the

police institution will likely decline in the public's eyes. This is particularly problematic

in the era of the "war on drugs," the "war on terror," and the "war on

crime." Politicians have deliberately framed these problems as "wars" because

the metaphor implies a sense of urgency, constructs a "we-versus-them" mentality

among the police, and fuels the idea of dangerous "foreign enemies." Encouraging

such perceptions is useful for generating political capital for (re)election, engaging

in deficit spending, and ultimately expanding police power. Police administrators

have often been quick to embrace these "wars" because they often increase citizen

and fiscal support.

The reality is, however, that politicians may be charging police with impossible

tasks. In other words, it may be very unlikely that these "wars" will ever come to

an end. In an era of experts, society expects that "wars" will end with clear winners

and losers. The reality is that the sources of these problems span several institutions

(economics, politics, education, and religion), many of which are beyond

the direct control of the police. These "wars" create incentives among the police

subculture and administrators to do whatever it takes to achieve what may be an

impossible mandate. Police administrators may do better-in the long run-by

educating the public regarding their limits so that reasonable expectations may

serve as a guide for evaluating present and future officer behavior.


Alpert, G. P., & Dunham, R. G. (1997). Policing urban America (3rd ed.). Prospect Heights,

IL: Waveland.

Bayley, D. H., & Bittner, E. (1984). Learning the skills of policing. Law and Contemporary

Problems, 47, 35-59.

Bayley, D. H., & Mendelsohn, A. (1969). Minorities and the police. New York: Free Press.

Bittner, E. (1970). The functions of police in modern society. Washington, DC: National

Institute of Mental Health.

Broderick, J. J. (1977). Police in a time of change. Morristown, NJ: General Learning Press.

Buerger, M. (1998). Police training as a pentecost: using tools singularly Ill-suited to the

purpose of reform. Police Quarterly, 1, 27-63.

Caldero, M. A., & Crank, J. P. (2010). Police ethics: The corruption of the Noble cause

(revised 3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Anderson.

Coates, R. (1972). The dimensions of police-citizen interaction: A social psychological analysis.

Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Maryland.

Conti, N., & Nolan, J. J. I. (2005). Policing the platonic cave: ethics and efficacy in police

training. Policing & Society, 15, 166-186.

Cordner, G. W. (1997). Community policing: elements and effects. In R. G. Dunham &

G. P. Alpert (Eds.), Critical issues in policing: Contemporary readings (5th ed.,

pp. 451-468). Long Grove, IL: Waveland.

Costello, A. E. (1972). Our police protectors (3rd ed.). Montclair, NJ: Patterson Smith.

Crank, J. P. (2004). Understanding police culture (2nd ed.). Cincinnati: Anderson.

66 CHAPTER 4 How police officers learn ethics

Ford, J. K., & Morash, M. (2002). Transforming police organizations. In M. Morash &

J. K. Ford (Eds.), The move to community policing: Making change happen (pp. 1-

11). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Ford, R. E. (2003). Saying one thing, meaning another: the role of parables in police training.

Police Quarterly, 6, 84-110.

Fyfe, J. J. (2005). The split-second syndrome and other determinants of police violence. In

R. G. Dunham & G. P. Alpert (Eds.), Critical issues in policing: Contemporary readings

(pp. 435-450). Long Grove, IL: Waveland.

Gaines, L. K., & Kappeler, V. E. (2005). Policing in America (5th ed.). Newark, NJ:

LexisNexis Matthew Bender.

Giacomazzi, A. L., & McGarrell, E. F. (2002). Using multiple methods in community crime

prevention and community-policing research. In J. K. Ford & M. Morash (Eds.), Transforming

police organizations (pp. 61-78). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Green, D. P., & Shapiro, I. (1994). Pathologies of rational choice theory: A critique of

applications in political science. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Hochstedler, E. (1981). Testing types: A review and test of police types. Journal of Criminal

Justice, 9, 451-466.

Hummel, R. P. (1994). The Bureaucratic experience: A critique of life in the modern organization

(4th ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press.

Kappeler, V. E., & Gaines, L. K. (2005). Community policing: A contemporary perspective

(4th ed.). Newark, NJ: LexisNexis Matthew Bender.

Kappeler, V. E., Sluder, R. D., & Alpert, G. P. (2005). Breeding deviant conformity: the ideology

and culture of police. In R. G. Dunham & G. P. Alpert (Eds.), Critical Issues in

Policing (5th ed., pp. 231-254). Long Grove, IL: Waveland.

Klockars, C. B. (1988). The rhetoric of community policing. In J. R. Greene &

S. D. Mastrofski (Eds.), Community policing: Rhetoric or reality (pp. 239-258). New

York: Praeger.

Kraska, P., & Kappeler, V. E. (1997). Militarizing the American police: the rise and

normalization of paramilitary units. Social Forces, 44, 1-18.

Larry, S. M., & Braswell, M. (1997). Human relations and police work (4th ed). Prospect

Heights, IL: Waveland Press.

Lipsky, M. (1980). Street-level Bureaucracy: the critical role of street-level bureaucrats. In

J. M. Shafritz & A. C. Hyde (Eds.), Classics of public administration. Fort Worth,

TX: Harcourt Brace.

Manning, P. K. (1977). Invitational edges of corruption: some consequences of Narcotic

Law Enforcement. In P. Rock (Ed.), Drugs and politics (pp. 279-310). Rutgers, NJ:

Society/Transaction Books.

Manning, P. K. (1978). The police: mandate, strategies, and appearances. In P. K. Manning

& J. Van Maanen (Eds.), Policing: A view from the street (pp. 149-193). Santa Monica,

CA: Goodyear.

Manning, P. K. (1996). Policing and reflection. Police Forum, 6, 1-5.

Manning, P. K. (1997). Police work (2nd ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland.

Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961).

Mastrofski, S. D. (1988). Community policing as reform: a cautionary tale. In J. R. Greene

& S. D. Mastrofski (Eds.), Community policing: Rhetoric or reality (pp. 47-68). New

York: Praeger.

Messner, S. F., & Rosenfeld, R. (2001). Crime and the American dream (3rd ed.). Belmont,

CA: Wadsworth / Thomas Learning.

Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).

Muir, W. K. (1977). Police: Streetcorner politicians. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Niederhoffer, A. (1967). Behind the shield. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.

Packer, H. (1968). The limits of the criminal sanction. Stanford, CA: Stanford University


Pollock, J. M. (1998). Ethics in crime and justice: Dilemmas and decisions (3rd ed.).

New York: West/Wadsworth.

Pollock, J. M. (2005). Ethics in law enforcement. In R. G. Dunham & G. P. Alpert (Eds.),

Critical issues in policing (5th ed., pp. 280-303). Long Grove, IL: Waveland.

Reiss, A., & Bordua, D. J. (1967). Environment and organization: a perspective on police. In

D. J. Bordua (Ed.), The police: Six sociological essays. New York: John Wiley.

Rokeach, M. (1973). The nature of human values. New York: The Free Press.

Rokeach, M., Miller, M. G., & Snyder, J. S. (1971). The value gap between the police and

the policed. Journal of Social Issues, 27, 155-177.

Shearing, C., & Ericson, R. (1991). Culture as figurative action. British Journal of Sociology,

42, 481-506.

Sherman, L. (1982). Learning police ethics. Criminal Justice Ethics, 1(1), 10-19.

Spears, J. W., & Spohn, C. (1997). The effect of evidence factors and victim characteristics

on prosecutors' charging decisions in sexual assault cases. Justice Quarterly, 14,


Stone, D. (2002). Policy paradox: The art of political decision making (2nd ed.). New York:

W.W. Norton & Company.

Van Maanen, J. (1974). Working the street: a developmental view of police behavior. In

H. Jacob (Ed.), The potential for reform in criminal justice (Vol. 3 pp. 83-129). Beverly

Hills, CA: Sage.

Walker, S., & Katz, C. M. (2002). The police in America: An introduction. Boston:


White, S. O. (1972). A perspective on police professionalization. Law & Society Review, 7,


Wilson, J. Q. (1968). Varieties of police behavior: The management of law and order in

Eight Communities. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Wilson, J. Q. (1989). Bureaucracy: What government agencies do and why they do it. New

York: Basic Books.

Zhao, J., He, N., & Lovrich, N. P. (1998). Individual value preferences among American

police officers: the Rokeach Theory of human values revisited. Policing: An International

Journal of Police Strategies and Management, 21(1), 22-37.


1. What is a noble cause?

2. Discuss the concept of a subculture and explain how law enforcement is

viewed as such.

3. Describe Sherman's idea of the moral career. Create scenarios regarding

each type of the individual concepts explained.

References 67

68 CHAPTER 4 How police officers learn ethics

List the four occupational phases that police officers encounter during their

career, and explain the importance of each.

Case Study 4-1 Liberty and Justice for All

You are a police officer in a large metropolitan city. For the past 8 months you worked in a

middle- and upper-class suburban patrol zone. Most of the people with whom you came in

contact were respectable members of the community. You had good rapport with most of

the community and they were generally quite cooperative with the police. Now you are being

transferred to another patrol zone that is in a lower-class area near the inner city.

The first week you are in the new zone, you are assigned to work with Mike, a veteran

officer who has been working this zone for almost 4 years. Mike drives you around, pointing

out informants, drunks, thieves, and places where they hang out. You immediately notice

that Mike has a somewhat harsh, even punitive attitude regarding the people with whom

he comes in contact on his beat.

"You have to treat these people tough; intimidation is the only way to communicate with

them," Mike explains.

After 1 week in your new zone, you become aware of a great difference in police work

with different types of people. You rarely made arrests in your old zone. Most problems there

could be worked out by talking rationally with the people with whom you came in contact. In

this zone, however, you have made more arrests and have had to use more force with people.

It becomes apparent to you that there are even more drunks and criminals living in the new

zone than you had ever expected. People living in the slums seem to be more apathetic as


Mike has told you that if you need information on criminal activity, just pick somebody

up and threaten to arrest them if they do not tell you what you need to know. This method

works, as your new partner seems to demonstrate frequently. Mike will "plant" drugs or a

gun on somebody, then threaten to arrest them if they do not give him information or

become an informant for him. Mike has occasionally beat confessions out of suspects, then

threatened to "get them" if they did not plead guilty to offenses.

You become aware of more violent crimes in your new zone. There are more murders,

assaults, and rapes here than would happen in the middle- and upper-class neighborhoods.

Mike defines rape "victims" as those ones who did not get paid for their services. "Not even

worth writing a report on," Mike tells you. Murder investigations are routinely handled by the

investigators in this zone. The detectives seldom perform a comprehensive investigation on

any offense here. In the middle- and upper-class zone, all offenses were investigated thoroughly

and the victims were given excellent attention by investigating officers.

You find that more police officers are assaulted in the lower-class zone than in your old

zone. The people living in the lower-class zone do not appear to respect the police. It seems

they only respect force.

"Don't ever turn your back on these people. And if you have to put one of these thugs

down, be sure there ain't no damned video camera around," Mike advises you. Mike also

advises you to have your gun ready at all times.

"Shotgun's the best, they're really scared of 'em," says Mike. You also notice that more




Customer: replied 5 years ago.

List the four occupational phases that police officers encounter during their

career, and explain the importance of each.

Case Study 4-1 Liberty and Justice for All

You are a police officer in a large metropolitan city. For the past 8 months you worked in a

middle- and upper-class suburban patrol zone. Most of the people with whom you came in

contact were respectable members of the community. You had good rapport with most of

the community and they were generally quite cooperative with the police. Now you are being

transferred to another patrol zone that is in a lower-class area near the inner city.

The first week you are in the new zone, you are assigned to work with Mike, a veteran

officer who has been working this zone for almost 4 years. Mike drives you around, pointing

out informants, drunks, thieves, and places where they hang out. You immediately notice

that Mike has a somewhat harsh, even punitive attitude regarding the people with whom

he comes in contact on his beat.

"You have to treat these people tough; intimidation is the only way to communicate with

them," Mike explains.

After 1 week in your new zone, you become aware of a great difference in police work

with different types of people. You rarely made arrests in your old zone. Most problems there

could be worked out by talking rationally with the people with whom you came in contact. In

this zone, however, you have made more arrests and have had to use more force with people.

It becomes apparent to you that there are even more drunks and criminals living in the new

zone than you had ever expected. People living in the slums seem to be more apathetic as


Mike has told you that if you need information on criminal activity, just pick somebody

up and threaten to arrest them if they do not tell you what you need to know. This method

works, as your new partner seems to demonstrate frequently. Mike will "plant" drugs or a

gun on somebody, then threaten to arrest them if they do not give him information or

become an informant for him. Mike has occasionally beat confessions out of suspects, then

threatened to "get them" if they did not plead guilty to offenses.

You become aware of more violent crimes in your new zone. There are more murders,

assaults, and rapes here than would happen in the middle- and upper-class neighborhoods.

Mike defines rape "victims" as those ones who did not get paid for their services. "Not even

worth writing a report on," Mike tells you. Murder investigations are routinely handled by the

investigators in this zone. The detectives seldom perform a comprehensive investigation on

any offense here. In the middle- and upper-class zone, all offenses were investigated thoroughly

and the victims were given excellent attention by investigating officers.

You find that more police officers are assaulted in the lower-class zone than in your old

zone. The people living in the lower-class zone do not appear to respect the police. It seems

they only respect force.

"Don't ever turn your back on these people. And if you have to put one of these thugs

down, be sure there ain't no damned video camera around," Mike advises you. Mike also

advises you to have your gun ready at all times.

"Shotgun's the best, they're really scared of 'em," says Mike. You also notice that more

officers in this zone use deadly force than officers in other zones of the city. The police shot

five people here last year.

"And probably a few more they didn't count," Mike chuckles.

After working in the new zone for two months and seeing what kind of people live in this

area, you find yourself agreeing more and more with Mike's attitudes and methods. You and

Mike receive a radio call to back up another unit a couple of blocks away. As you pull up

beside the other cruiser, you see two police officers beating up a young man in the alley


Case Study 4-1 Liberty and Justice for All-Cont'd

"C'mon Mike, you want a piece of this?" shouts one of the officers. Mike takes out his

slapjack and moves in with the other two officers beating the youth.

"What did he do?" you ask.

"He made the mistake of calling us names," responds one of the officers. "We're going

to let this one be an example."

The young man could not be over 17 years old and appears to be badly hurt. You know

the officers will leave him in the alley when they are finished beating him. Of course, there

will be no arrest.

You begin to think about how you have changed. Mike always says, "Fight fire with fire."

Right now you are wondering who the criminals are. What should you do?


1. Explain the metamorphosis of the officer taken out of his middle-class environment.

Why would there be increased conflict between citizens and police in the lower-class

neighborhood? Could this increased conflict explain the behavior of the other veteran

officers in this precinct?

2. From a deontological perspective, what must this new officer do to preserve his moral


3. How might an apologia be used to defend the actions of the veteran officers? Would utilitarianism

allow for the battering of a minor in this case?

From XXXXX XXXXX, and Braswell (1997). Reprinted with permission.

References 69



Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Deception in police

interrogation 5

Steven J. Ellwanger



fabricated evidence



Miranda warning

misrepresenting identity

role playing

slippery-slope argument

Ronald Kitchen was a 24-year-old black male living in Chicago. On January 25,

1988, he was arrested while walking home from the grocery store after purchasing

cookie dough for his children. Initially, detectives charged Kitchen with theft, but

they quickly changed the charge to murder. After hours of interrogation, which

included being beaten with a blackjack, Kitchen confessed under extreme physical

duress to the murder of two women and three children-murders that he did not

commit. Kitchen believed that because there could be no physical evidence linking

him to the crime, his confession could later be recanted without consequence. In

fact, when asked why he falsely confessed, Kitchen stated, "I gave in, hoping that

the judge and jury would see that I was telling the truth" (Hartman, 2009). Unfortunately,

Kitchen underestimated the power of confession evidence and was ultimately

convicted and sentenced to death. In July 2010, after serving 21 years

behind bars-13 of which were on death row-prosecutors dismissed charges

against Kitchen after he was granted a new trial. Formal charges of torture dating

back to the 1980s were filed against the Chicago Police.

As Kitchen's case illustrates, in criminal law a confession is the most damning

and potent evidence a prosecutor can present during trial (Cassell & Hayman,

1996; Leo, 1996). Pressure on police to obtain confession evidence has always

existed. As a result, police have implemented interrogation techniques designed

to maximize confession rates among guilty suspects. In Brown v. Mississippi

(1936), the U.S. Supreme Court held that confessions obtained by brutality and

torture were a violation of the due process rights guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment's

protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. Prior to this

Justice, Crime, and Ethics.

© 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

72 CHAPTER 5 Deception in police interrogation

landmark ruling, police relied largely on physical interrogation techniques, including

beating suspects with a rubber hose until they confessed.

In response to the real or perceived hurdles introduced through this landmark

case, police agencies modified interrogation practices to emphasize the psychological

dimension of interrogation. To this end, interrogators would often hold suspects

incommunicado from family and counsel for lengthy periods, fabricate

evidence, and employ other techniques to heighten anxiety and increase fatigue

among suspects to secure a confession. In essence, police agencies shifted from

physically coercive methods for obtaining confessions to psychological ones. The

U.S. Supreme Court initially considered the issue of psychological coercion in

1966 with Miranda v. Arizona, which resulted in the now famous Miranda warnings

that require law enforcement officers to inform suspects of their right to

remain silent (Fifth Amendment) and access to legal counsel (Sixth Amendment).

The Court was very clear in stating that evidence (i.e., a confession) obtained during

custodial interrogation was not admissible in court to prove guilt unless the

suspect had been given his or her Miranda warnings and had voluntarily, knowingly,

and intelligently waived those rights.

The pressure experienced by law enforcement to secure confessions did not

wane with the Miranda ruling. Given the fact that most perpetrators don't readily

admit guilt when confronted by law enforcement, police agencies have crafted

deceptive interrogation techniques to secure confessions. The constitutionality of

these techniques is ultimately judged by the voluntariness standard articulated by

the Court in Miranda. Confessions not secured voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently

are deemed coercive in the eyes of the Court and are therefore inadmissible.

This chapter begins with a discussion of the case law that shapes contemporary

police interrogation techniques, followed by a typology that identifies and examines

deceptive-yet legal-tactics commonly utilized by interrogators to secure

incriminating evidence. Finally, the ethical issues and dilemmas presented by these

techniques for officers, agencies, and the broader system are considered.


There has always existed pressure on the prosecution to obtain confession evidence.

Even today, under English common law-to which the roots of the U.S.

legal system can be traced-failure to obtain a confession from the accused is seen

as a serious deficiency in the prosecution's case. According to one legal scholar,

"the introduction of a confession makes other aspects of the trial in court superfluous,"

making the confession the prosecutor's most potent and damning piece of

evidence (Leo, 1996; McCormick, 1972:316). In response to this pressure, police

agencies adopted interrogation techniques designed to elicit confessions from

guilty suspects. Initially, these techniques emphasized brute force; later they

stressed psychological coercion. Subsequent judicial intervention eventually

deemed both forms unconstitutional.

From brute force to psychological manipulation 73

Despite judicial intervention, the pressure to secure confessions by the prosecution

has remained. Police continue to exert pressure on suspects to obtain a confession.

To this end, police agencies have adopted techniques that rely on

psychological manipulation. Although the Supreme Court drew a bright line

regarding the timing of the Miranda warnings, it was less clear what "specific techniques"

could be considered so deceitful that they violated the voluntariness clause

enumerated in Miranda. Thus, the constitutionality of contemporary interrogation

techniques must be considered against the backdrop of existing case law.

Elimination of brute force

The Supreme Court first considered the issue of interrogation techniques employed

by states to secure confession evidence in 1936, with Brown v. Mississippi. Brown

and two other suspected accomplices were tortured, including being beaten on their

backs with a leather strap and metal buckle, for the alleged murder of a white man.

The deputy sheriff told Brown and the others that the beatings would not stop until

they confessed to the murder and all of the details surrounding it. One day after the

confessions were secured, the trial began. With the rope marks still clearly visible

on the suspects, none of those people who participated in the beating denied that it

had taken place. The suspects were ultimately convicted of murder and sentenced

to death. On appeal, the Supreme Court ruled that confessions obtained by brutality

and torture by law enforcement officers were a violation of the due process rights

guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. The initial reluctance of the Court to

become involved in state affairs, and its concern for the reliability of confession

evidence obtained by physical coercion, is captured in its rationale:

The State is free to regulate the procedure of its courts in accordance with its

own conceptions of policy, unless it "offends some principle of justice so rooted

in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked fundamental.". . .

[T]he freedom of the State in establishing its policy is the freedom of constitutional

government and is limited by the requirement of due process of law.

Because a State may dispense with a jury trial, it does not follow that it may

substitute trial by ordeal. The rack and torture chamber may not be substituted

for the witness stand. The state may not permit an accused to be hurried to conviction

under mob domination-where the whole proceeding is but a mask-

without supplying corrective process. (Brown v. Mississippi, 1936)

Controlling psychological coercion

The Brown decision had the effect of eliminating the use of brute force to secure

confessions by holding that such evidence is highly unreliable and therefore

inadmissible. In response, police agencies modified their interrogation practices.

Interrogators began to focus on the psychological dimension of confessions.

Interrogators developed standard operating procedures (SOPs) that emphasized

techniques designed to increase anxiety and fatigue among suspects during

74 CHAPTER 5 Deception in police interrogation

questioning. These techniques first came to the attention of the Supreme Court in

1966 with Miranda v. Arizona.

Ernesto Miranda, who was 23 years old, poor, and had only a ninth-grade

education, was accused in the kidnapping and rape of an 18-year-old girl. Miranda

was subsequently arrested and identified in a police line-up by the victim. He was

immediately taken to an interrogation room where he was held incommunicado for

2 h. When investigators emerged from the room, they had a fully signed confession,

which had a typed paragraph at the top stating that the confession was voluntary

and made without threats or promises of immunity and "with full knowledge

of my legal rights, understanding any statement I make may be used against me."

Miranda was subsequently sentenced to 20-30 years in prison.

On appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Miranda's Fifth (right to remain

silent) and Sixth (right to counsel) Amendment rights had been violated and went

on to articulate the now famous Miranda warnings. Miranda was unique in two

ways. First, Miranda signaled a willingness by the Court to become involved in

the day-to-day operations of police agencies by spelling out specifically what

police agencies needed to do for confession evidence to be admissible in court.

The court was clear that: (1) suspects must be given their Miranda warnings by

the police; (2) any confession evidence must be obtained after a waiver by the suspect;

and (3) that waiver must be voluntary and intelligent. Second, Miranda was

unique for what it did not do: It did not identify any specific deceitful interrogation

technique that would violate the voluntariness clause beyond the use of trickery

to induce a waiver of a suspect's Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights (Miranda v.

Arizona, 1966; see also White, 1979).


The reluctance of the Court to proscribe specific police interrogation techniques for

their violation of the voluntariness clause articulated in Miranda has resulted in the

proliferation of various forms of trickery. The constitutionality of such deceptive

practices can only be judged on a case-by-case basis. Because no per se rules

exist that prohibit specific types or categories of deception, case law has (and will

continue to) define the limits and bounds of the Miranda protections with respect

to deceptive interrogation. Of particular importance in determining these limits

and bounds is the meaning of voluntariness. Voluntariness as defined by the Court

is a concept "that is infused with multiple values," as Justice Harlan noted in

his Miranda dissent ("Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966)). In fact, interpretations

of the Miranda ruling-especially regarding "voluntariness"-have been

guided by the values of reliability, free will, and fairness embodied in the decision.

Reliability of confession evidence was the early focus of state courts in determining

voluntariness. Police interrogation techniques that would leave a defendant

"willing to make any statement that the officers wanted him to make" (Ward v.

Texas, 316 U.S. 547 (1942)) or are the result of police coercion rather than the

Reliability, free will, and fairness 75

suspect's perception of the event (Rogers v. Richmond, 356 U.S. 534 (1961)) are

involuntary and thus unconstitutional. In addition to reliability, the Court was also

concerned about the extent to which a suspect's statements were "the product of

his or her free and rational choice." In other words, confessions could be involuntary

if the techniques employed were coercive, regardless of whether they produced

a false confession. For example, Justice Black, speaking for the Court,

found that an uninterrupted 36-h interrogation was "so inherently coercive that it

was irreconcilable with the possession of mental freedom" (Ashcraft v. Tennessee,

322 U.S. 143 (1944)). Finally, the voluntariness standard includes a fairness component.

The fairness component deals directly with the legitimacy of the police

tactics employed to secure the confession. In Spano v. New York, the court's primary

concern was not with the potentially coercive methods but with insuring that

"police obey the law while enforcing the law" (Spano v. New York, 360 U.S. 315


In the absence of any definitive guidance by the Court prohibiting specific

types of interrogation techniques and the pressure experienced by police to obtain

confession evidence, numerous techniques have been developed to maximize

confession rates (Hess, 1997; Inbaue & Reid, 1962; Inbaue, Reid, Buckley, &

Jayne, 2001). Many of these techniques are inherently deceptive because they

require officers to make statements they know are untrue or to play a role that is

inconsistent with their actual feelings (Box, 1999; White, 1979). In fact, Inbaue

et al. (2001) openly favor "psychological tactics and techniques that may involve

trickery and deceit," noting that "they are not only helpful but also frequently

indispensible in order to secure incriminating information" (2001:xii). The authors

prescribe numerous strategies designed to deliberately deceive a suspect into confessing.

Deceptive techniques may be classified into eight categories initially identified

by Skolnick and Leo (1992), as outlined in Box 5.1.


Deceptive Interrogation Techniques

"Interview" vs. "Interrogation"

Role Playing

Miranda Warnings

Fabricated Evidence

Exaggerating the Nature and Severity of the Offense

Minimization/Normalization of Crime

Misrepresenting Identity

Use of Promises

76 CHAPTER 5 Deception in police interrogation

"Interview" versus "Interrogation"

Interviews can be distinguished from interrogations by their purpose and nature.

The purpose of an interview is to gather pertinent information regarding a crime.

Interviews usually occur early in an investigation, when the police have little or

no evidence linking a suspect to a crime, and the location is often spontaneously

chosen or solely determined by convenience (i.e., taking place in an individual's

home, on the street, or in a police cruiser). Questions like "Do you know who

might have killed John Doe?" or "Why do you think John Doe was murdered?"

are typical interview questions.

Once police have reason to believe that an individual may have been involved

in a crime, the nature and purpose of the questioning will change. During interrogation,

investigators are deliberately trying to elicit incriminating evidence that

will be used to prosecute the suspect. Thus, interrogations are accusatory in nature.

The location for interrogation is often chosen by design (i.e., taking place at the

police station or crime scene). Questions like "Why did you kill John Doe?" or

"Why did you want John Doe dead?" implicate the individual in the crime.

Miranda warnings must be given whenever there is a custodial interrogation.

Custodial means that a suspect is under arrest or is deprived of his or her freedom

in a significant way. Interrogation, again, means that the suspect is being asked

questions that attempt to link him or her to the crime. One of the most popular

strategies the police employ is to make what is actually an interrogation appear

to be an interview. This is done by questioning suspects in the field and/or frequently

reminding them that they are free to leave at any time. As Skolnick and

Leo (1992) have noted, this is one of the cleanest forms of deceptive interrogation

techniques in that by recasting the interrogation as an interview, it becomes free of

judicial control.

Role playing

Closely associated with pretending an interrogation is an interview is the practice

of interrogators assuming a nonadversary role. The purpose of this technique is

to get the suspect to forget the adversarial nature of the relationship between the

interrogator and suspect or that the interrogator is attempting to elicit information

that will later be used to prosecute the suspect. Interrogators will often assume

roles that the suspect perceives to be more friendly and concerned with ensuring

the welfare of the suspect rather than attempting to elicit information that will later

be used to convict them.

Because masking and minimizing the perceived adversarial nature of the interrogation

are often paramount to securing confessions, police manuals often advise

police officers involved in role-play to dress in civilian clothes, attempt to build

rapport, use flattery, and speak and behave in ways similar to suspects-a process

known as mirroring (Hess, 1997; Inbaue et al., 2001; Kassin, 1997). The goal is

to create the illusion that interrogators are friends who are interested in helping,

rather than harming, the suspect. A popular and well-known role-playing technique

Reliability, free will, and fairness 77

assumed by interrogators is "good cop/bad cop," or the "Mutt and Jeff" routine.

Here one interrogator ("Mutt") pretends to be extremely angry and impatient with

the suspect because of his or her unwillingness to talk and confess to the crime.

That interrogator paces around the interrogation room attempting to look menacing

and unpredictable while making demeaning comments about the suspect. The other

interrogator ("Jeff," the "good cop") tells Mutt to leave the room and "let off some

steam." At this point, Jeff encourages the suspect to confide in him before Mutt

returns (LaGrange, 1998).

Interrogators also routinely adopt the role of father, brother, or a religious or therapeutic

counselor. Similarly to "good cop/bad cop," the success of these roles in

securing a confession is largely contingent on the interrogator's ability to convey

a sense of friendship, feign sympathy, and make appeals to God or religion. The constitutionality

of these techniques has largely been affirmed by the courts except

when they can be construed as "coercive," such as when an officer implies that

God will punish suspects if they do not confess (People v. Adams, 143 Cal.App.3d

970 (1983)). Despite the effectiveness of these techniques and their affirmed constitutionality,

legal scholars have criticized such strategies for undermining the very

goal that Miranda was meant to achieve to make the individual more aware that

he or she is engaged in an adversarial process and that the suspect is not in the presence

of people who are necessarily acting in his or her interest (Kamisar, 1966).

Despite this criticism, role playing is widely used and one of the most effective interrogation

techniques employed by police officers (Skolnick & Leo, 1992).

Miranda warnings

The Court attempted to draw a clear line regarding when Miranda warnings must

be given. Whenever a "custodial interrogation" ensues, suspects must be made

aware of their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and Sixth Amendment right

to counsel. The Court did not say, however, that police had to be enthusiastic about

giving the Miranda warnings, nor that the warnings have to be read in a manner

that encourages suspects to exercise their rights. As a result, Miranda warnings

are often delivered in a manner that is intended to increase the likelihood that a

waiver will be elicited. The warnings can be recited in a flat, perfunctory manner

intended to imply that they are not that important and are merely a bureaucratic ritual

(Skolnick & Leo, 1992). For example, one seasoned investigator would routinely

interject during their reading-at the point at which suspects are informed

of their right to counsel-that no person on death row got there without the help

of their attorney (Hess, 1997:36).

Fabricated evidence

Police interrogators may also utilize a false-evidence ploy to induce suspects to

confess. In such instances, police confront the suspect with false evidence. Leo

(2008) has identified three types of false-evidence ploys: demeanor evidence,

78 CHAPTER 5 Deception in police interrogation

testimonial evidence, and scientific evidence. Demeanor ploys involve the fabrication

of evidence gleaned from the suspect's behavior. That is, they tell the suspect

that their appearance, behavior, or postures provide strong evidence of their guilt.

This is in part the product of their training and expectations, which are shaped

by training manuals that argue that guilty individuals display certain behaviors

(e.g., gaze aversion, slouching posture, and/or "insufficient richness of detail" in

responses) that can be observed to determine the likelihood of guilt (Inbaue

et al., 2001; Jayne & Buckley, 1999). A false-evidence ploy is not the misreading

of the suspect's behavior-or falsely concluding that a suspect is guilty based on

the suspect's behavior. Rather, it is the fabrication of demeanor evidence that

police present to the suspect in an effort to get them to confess, despite observing

behaviors that actually suggest their innocence.

The most common form of false-evidence ploys utilized by police is testimonial

(Leo, 2008). This technique involves police telling the suspect that they have testimony

by an eyewitness, video camera, or even an accomplice that implicates the

suspect in the crime. For example, police will often tell a suspect who they

believed played a relatively minor role in the commission of a crime (e.g., drove

the getaway car) that the suspect's accomplice is located in another interrogation

room and is currently confessing to the crime and implicating the suspect. The officer

then states that unless the suspect confesses his or her role, the suspect will

"take the fall" for the crime. Finally, police may also fabricate scientific evidence

linking the suspect to the crime. For example, police may claim that they found the

individual's fingerprints at the crime scene or have found the victim's DNA in

bloodstains taken from the suspect's clothing.

The Supreme Court and other courts have generally found these false-evidence

ploys to be constitutional, as in Ward v. State (1980), which affirmed the constitutionality

of providing misinformation to suspects in order to play accomplices

against each other (Ward v. State, 408 N.E.2d 140 (1980)) and fabricating scientific

evidence about nonexistent bloodstains and testimonial evidence from nonexistent

eyewitnesses (State v. Jackson, 308 N.C. 549 (1983)). However, the courts have

more recently ruled that false evidence ploys that involve the creation of physical

evidence (e.g., evidence written on official letterhead or a tape recording of a police

officer portrayed as an eyewitness) are unconstitutional because their "potential for

indefinite life and the facial appearance of authenticity" creates a risk for contaminating

the criminal justice system (Florida v. Cayward, 552 So. 2d 971, 1989; State

v. Patton, 826 A.2d 783, 2003; see also Woody & Forrest, 2009).

Exaggerating the nature and severity of the offense

In an analysis of interrogation techniques, Inbaue, Reid, and Buckley (1986) proffered

two broad categories that, used in combination, increase the likelihood of

securing a confession (Kassin & McNall, 1991). The first technique is described

as maximization. Here, police attempt to maximize the suspect's perceptions of

the negative consequences for continuing to deny involvement in the crime. One

Reliability, free will, and fairness 79

such technique is to exaggerate the nature or severity of the offense. For example,

a suspect being investigated for statutory rape may be told by the police that the

accuser claims the rape was, in fact, forcible. Similarly, a suspect being accused

of embezzlement may be deliberately told that the amount embezzled is substantially

larger than it actually was (e.g., $1,500 instead of the actual $500). The goal

is to make the individual suspect perceive that the consequences for continued

deception are too great if convicted of the (exaggerated) offense-and therefore

unacceptable-so as to compel him or her to confess. Lower courts have generally

held that a suspect need not be informed of the specific nature of the charges for

the police to obtain a valid waiver (United States v. Anderson,XXXXX

(1976) F.2d 1210, 1212 n.3).

Normalization/minimization of the crime

The second of Inbaue et al.'s categories is the normalization/minimization of the

crime. With this technique, police attempt to minimize the perceived consequences

of admitting guilt by suggesting justifications for the suspect's behavior or trying

to at least normalize it within the context of its occurrence. Minimization and

normalization techniques employed by police allow suspects to justify their behavior

on moral or external grounds. For example, police may suggest that the battery

of a prostitute is justifiable given her moral turpitude or even suggest to an alleged

child molester that they understand he was only trying to show the victim love. If

provided a moral justification by which behavior can be rationalized, suspects

might perceive the consequences of admitting guilt as diminished (i.e., they are

able to save face). Police may also provide external justifications (i.e., the behavior

was drug-induced or an accident) to make the behavior appear less deliberate or

even normal, given the circumstances. When maximization of the offense is combined

with normalization/minimization, it serves to increase the likelihood that

police will secure a confession. These tactics are generally upheld by the courts

and are considered by police agencies to be one of the most effective strategies

available to them (Skolnick & Leo, 1992).

Misrepresenting identity

Police may also misrepresent their identity to secure a confession. The Supreme

Court's view on the constitutionality of this tactic is shaped by both the norms

and professional rules surrounding the particular profession or social group being

assumed and the extent to which the assumed identity creates a sense of psychological

compulsion. In Leyra v. Denno (347 U.S. 556 (1954)), the Court ruled that

confession evidence obtained by a police psychiatrist acting as a physician-and

who in the course of treating the defendant repeatedly assured him that he had

done no wrong and would be let off-was inadmissible. In a similar vein, because

of a general assumption of confidentiality, an officer pretending to be a suspect's

lawyer or a priest would be impermissible. Thus, the profession or social group

80 CHAPTER 5 Deception in police interrogation

with which an officer identifies during questioning may, as a result of professional

disclosure rules or norms (e.g., confidentiality), make confession evidence

obtained inadmissible (Skolnick & Leo, 1992).

More recently, the Rehnquist court in Illinois v. Perkins (110 S.CT. 2394

(1990)) did uphold confession evidence obtained through the use of a "jail plant."

Here an undercover officer posed as a prison inmate and was placed in the cell of a

suspected murderer named Perkins who was serving time on an unrelated drug

charge. While planning a prison break, the officer asked Perkins if he had ever

"done" anybody. Perkins subsequently described at length the details of a murder-

for-hire he had committed. The Court ruled that the confession evidence

obtained under these circumstances was admissible, because Perkins-who did

not know the informant was an agent-could not have experienced any psychologically

compelling reason to confess.

Use of promises

The cajoling, trickery, and deception police use to secure confessions are often buttressed

by promises to further entice suspects into confessing. The Supreme Court

has deemed certain types of promises of leniency, however, to be inherently coercive

and therefore unconstitutional. Promises are considered coercive because they

are meant to convince suspects that their condition will somehow be improved.

That improvement is often illusory, however, because police are often only interested

in securing the confession and have little interest in or control over carrying

out the promises. As a result, police rely on a specific form of promise, the use of

which has largely been upheld by the courts.

Because "direct" promises of leniency have been deemed by the Supreme Court

to be unconstitutional since 1897 (Bram v. United States, 168 U.S. 532 (1897)),

police have come to rely on promises that do not guarantee that the suspect's position

will be improved but instead only imply such an improvement. For example,

in State v. Jackson (1983), interrogators led the suspect to believe that if he told

the truth-or confessed-the court would "view his case in a favorable light"

(State v. Jackson, 304 S.E.2d 134 (1983)). On appeal, the North Carolina Supreme

Court ruled his confession to be voluntary because there was no offer of leniency

by the police. Thus, the extent to which promises are viewed constitutional in the

eyes of the courts is largely determined by their directness and specificity (Ayling,

1984; Kassin, 1997; Sasaki, 1988; Skolnick & Leo, 1992; White, 1979).



Police experience tremendous pressure by society and prosecutors to solve crimes.

Despite the common misconception that most crimes are quickly solved by some

direct forensic evidence that links the suspect to the crime, most crimes are in fact

Crime control vs. due process and ethical orientation 81

solved by important information obtained during police questioning. Interrogation

is an important part of that fact-finding process. At first glance, the use of trickery

and deception in obtaining incriminating information during interrogation might

seem to be without substantial criticism. In fact, one might argue that as long as

the techniques police employ are legal, securing a confession is the most efficient

and therefore rational means for solving a crime.

However, the use of deception in interrogations needs to be considered from a

broader perspective than its perceived utilitarian promise. In fact, a review of such

techniques suggests that despite the contention of training manuals and seasoned

interrogators that liars can be distinguished from truth tellers, the promise of such

claims is often overstated. Even if these claims were not overstated, the use of

deception in police interrogations has potential negative effects on police conduct

in other areas of their work.



One's view concerning the appropriateness of deceptive interrogation techniques is

likely a product of fundamental assumptions that one holds about the criminal justice

system. Herbert Packer's (1968) two models of the criminal justice system

view the goals of the system as existing on a continuum.

At one extreme is the crime control model. Individuals who subscribe to this

model believe that the primary goal of the criminal justice system is crime control,

and the goal of crime control can only be maximized (thereby producing the

greatest good for the greatest number of citizens) through efficiency. An efficient

criminal justice system quickly identifies, apprehends, convicts, and punishes perpetrators

(Packer, 1968). Existing at the other extreme of the continuum is the due

process model. In contrast to the crime control model, which emphasizes efficiency

and finality of the outcome, the due process model is more concerned with justice

while emphasizing the process through which it is achieved. Another way of

saying this is that in the due process model, the protection of the innocent is as

important as the punishment of the guilty. Unfortunately, the values of "efficiency"

and "justice" are often at odds with each other and exist in a zero-sum game; that

is, an increase in one often comes at a cost to the other. For example, unrestrained

police power increases the likelihood that individuals will be identified, prosecuted,

convicted, and punished, but without sufficient safeguards it runs the risk

of corrupting the process (see Caldero & Crank, 2010).

The assumptions one holds of the system-which view the central value pursued

by the criminal justice system as either "efficiency" or as "justice"-will

profoundly shape one's views regarding the morality of deceptive interrogation

techniques. It is difficult to argue that efficiency is not an important value, because

an efficient system may provide more effective public safety. Citizens, however,

should recognize that one value often comes at a cost to another, and the extent

82 CHAPTER 5 Deception in police interrogation

to which deceptive interrogation techniques should be allowed to exist is one

that will ebb and flow with political currents and the public sentiment that

fuels them.


The most popular form of interrogation practiced by police today is the Reid Technique

(Meyer & Reppuci, 2007). The Reid Technique relies on a form of behavior

analysis in which police ask suspects a series of 15 questions and assess their verbal

and nonverbal responses in an attempt to determine guilt. This technique rests

on the assumption that guilty suspects provide verbal and nonverbal cues that

trained investigators can identify to determine deception. For example, short

answers, gaze aversion, slouching, and reactive grooming of self or clothes are

all considered cues of deception (Inbaue et al., 2001). According to Reid and

Associates (2010), interrogators trained in this technique are 85 percent accurate

in distinguishing guilty from innocent suspects.

The assumption that police interrogators can make accurate determinations of

guilt or innocence through behavior analysis is not generally supported by existing

research. It is estimated that laypeople are 54 percent accurate in detecting truth,

whereas the trained police rate is believed to be between 45 and 60 percent, which

may be modestly better-or even slightly worse-than random guessing (Vrij,

2001). Other studies have shown that college students have similar or higher accuracy

rates than trained police officers (DePaulo & Pfeifer, 1986; Kassin & Fong,

1999; Kassin, Meissner, & Norwick, 2005), whereas other research has demonstrated

that such training actually reduces police and college student abilities to

detect deception (Kassin & Fong, 1999; Meissner & Kassin, 2002). Perhaps even

more troubling is the finding that police who underwent training in identifying

deceptive cues were more likely to make, with extreme confidence, prejudgments

of guilt that were frequently in error (for a full review, see Kassin, 2008).

The consequences of inaccurate prejudgment of guilt and extreme confidence

are particularly troublesome when the value of efficiency is permitted to run

roughshod over justice. Caldero and Crank (2010) have argued that police do not

build cases in a serial process whereby evidence is obtained prior to determination

of guilt but instead make determinations of guilt more as a product of intuition and

the professional socialization preceding evidence collection. An example might be

when an officer determines that a particular individual or car does not belong in a

particular area. Once police officers sense that a crime has been or is about be

committed, they work backward to develop sufficient facts to establish "reasonable

suspicion" or "probable cause." They do this to initiate a police/citizen contact or

search-such as claiming that a driver failed to make a complete stop-to allow

for the collection of evidence (see also Crank, 2004). In the interrogation room,

officers usually begin with the presumption guilt (Gudjonsson, 1992) and then

work to secure a confession. Prejudgments of guilt and overconfidence inspired

Reliability of behavior analysis 83

by training in interrogation techniques may have the effect of blinding investigators

to exculpatory evidence. Such attitudes can also lead to interrogation techniques

that elicit a false confession-particularly when police are not trained with

regard to the proper limits of such techniques (which they frequently are not).

Deceit and lying are encouraged by Reid and Associates, whose techniques

have been utilized by generations of interrogators and are among the most widely

used today (Inbaue et al., 2001; Meyer & Reppuci, 2007). However, deceit and

lying are behaviors that are prohibited in other areas of police work (e.g., in supervisor/

subordinate organizational relationships) and in the courts. By allowing or

even encouraging behaviors that are generally condemned by society or prohibited

in other areas of police work, policing runs the risk of creating a "slippery slope."

To encourage police to lie, deceive, and fabricate evidence in the interrogation

room while simultaneously believing that such behaviors may not creep into other

areas of police work (e.g., falsifying police reports, warrants, and orders) may be

naı¨ve and myopic.

Police and supporters of deceptive interrogation techniques often justify them

on utilitarian grounds. The constitutionality of existing and future interrogation

techniques will continually be reviewed by the courts. Court decisions will on

occasion remind police of the delicate balance that exists between efficiency and

justice-and that sometimes police interrogation tactics violate civil liberties.

Unfortunately, justifying deceitful practices in the interrogation room on the utilitarian

grounds of crime control may make it easier to also apply them in other

areas of police work (e.g., falsifying evidence to obtain a warrant or lying in court

to secure a conviction). Unlike police interrogations, which are relatively transparent

(often videotaped) and whose methods are relatively easily reviewed by the

courts, lies and fabrications that find their way into other areas of police work

are not as visible and subject to external review mechanisms for the protection

of those who are in fact innocent.

A police force that lies and deceives, even if to achieve good ends, may also

limit its long-term effectiveness. Police are dependent on the public to provide

valuable information in solving crimes, to coproduce public safety through community

involvement, and to help secure convictions from juries comprising the

people they police. A police force that develops a reputation for lying and

deceit-two behaviors generally not supported by the public-runs the risk of

undermining the elements of confidence and trust that are necessary for effective

police/citizen relationships. As a result, citizens may become less likely to furnish

police with important information and/or to actively participate in the policing of

their communities. In addition, police agencies that develop such a reputation are

more likely to encounter juries that question the veracity of officer testimony

and are more likely to acquit suspects than they otherwise would be. This is particularly

true when gross miscarriages of justice resulting from false confessions

obtained through deceptive interrogation techniques are revealed to the public.

A false confession is one in which an innocent person confesses to a crime he

or she did not commit. Because many people assume that innocent people would

84 CHAPTER 5 Deception in police interrogation

not confess to crimes they did not commit, many would argue that the use of deceit

to obtain confession evidence is not problematic. Although the actual rate of

false confessions is unknown in the absence of an adequate method of estimation

(Kassin, 1997), it is believed that the number of false confessions in the United

States is between 10 and 394 per year (Cassell, 1998).

Given the fact that confession evidence has a more compelling influence on

jurors than eyewitness testimony (Wakefield & Underwager, 1998), it is important

to understand the different types of false confessions and the motivations or reasons

that give rise to each. Kassin and Wrightsman (1985) have distinguished

between voluntary false confessions, coerced-compliant false confessions, and

coerced-internalized false confessions. A voluntary false confession is one that is

given in the absence of external pressure from police. The reasons suspects may

give voluntary false confessions range from a desire for notoriety (as when 200

people confessed to the kidnapping of XXXXX XXXXXndbergh's baby) to acceptance,

recognition, or self-punishment. Another example was when a woman falsely

implicated herself and a group of motorcyclists in a local murder and later claimed

in a letter to police that she did so for the same reasons she used drugs and

attempted suicide-for attention (Wrightsman & Kassin, 1993:87-88).

A coerced-compliant false confession is one in which suspects confess after

intense interrogation pressure and that arises out of instrumental motivations. Here

an individual falsely confesses because he or she believes the short-term gains

(e.g., being released, left alone, fed, etc.) outweigh the long-term consequences

(e.g., prosecution, incarceration, loss of reputation, etc), as was the case with

Ronald Kitchen noted at the beginning of this chapter. The perceived strength of

the evidence and an individual's predisposition toward compliance in social situations

have both been found to be significant predictors of this type of false confession

(Cassell & Hayman, 1996; Gudjonsson, 1989). Finally, coerced-internalized

false confessions are those in which an innocent person comes to believe that he

or she has, in fact, committed the crime in question.

It is difficult to understand not only how innocent individuals confess to crimes

they didn't commit but also how, after being exposed to interrogation tactics that

are suggestive, guilt sometimes becomes internalized by the individual. This form

of false confession is particularly troublesome because here an individual's recollection

of the events becomes altered and therefore unretriveable at a later date.

The reasons for such internalization are not well known, but studies have shown

that individuals differ with respect to their level of suggestibility during interrogation.

Those people who exhibit poor memories, high levels of anxiety, low selfesteem,

and lack of assertiveness are more likely to experience shifts in memory

and yield to misleading questions (Gudjonsson, 1992).

Coerced-internalized false confessions are relatively rare, yet numerous cases

have been documented (Ofshe & Watters, 1994; Warden & Drizin, 2009). For

example, Thomas Sawyer, a golf course groundskeeper accused of raping and murdering

his neighbor, was originally invited to the police station to "assist" in an

investigation. After 16 h of interrogation in which police claimed they had physical

Conclusion 85



False Confession Type

Voluntary False Confession

Coerced-Compliant False Confession

Motivation or Reason

Coerced-Internalized False


Desire for notoriety, acceptance,

recognition, or self-punishment.

Concerned with maximizing short term

gains (e.g., a drug addict confessing so

they can be released to get a "fix").

Individual prone to suggestibility

resulting from poor memory, high

anxiety, low self-esteem, or lack of


evidence linking him to the crime, Sawyer was convinced by police that the reason

he could not recall the event was because of an alcoholic blackout. He finally

admitted to the crime and went on to state, "I guess all of the evidence is in, I guess

I must have done it" (Jerome, 1995:30). A review by Kassin (1997) of coercedinternalized

false confessions led to the conclusion that such confessions-

although infrequent-occur when (1) individual memories are malleable because

of youth, interpersonal trust, naı¨vete´, suggestibility, lack of intelligence, stress,

fatigue, or alcohol or other drug use; and (2) police utilize false evidence ploys that

rely on seemingly irrefutable scientific evidence (e.g., DNA, hair, fingerprints, or

polygraph results).


The use of deception in police interrogation has become a mainstay in police interrogation

techniques. From conflating interrogations and interviews to utilizing

false evidence ploys and role playing, police interrogation tactics rely on psychological

manipulation to secure confession evidence. Society holds lofty expectations

for police to solve crimes and to do so expediently. Because perpetrators

rarely confess their involvement in criminal offenses when initially confronted

by police, interrogators have adopted techniques to secure confessions that attempt

86 CHAPTER 5 Deception in police interrogation

to follow the "letter of the law." The meaning of the "letter of the law," however,

has changed and will continue to change over time as it relates to the values

embodied in the voluntariness standard articulated in Miranda. Changing political

winds and public sentiment will undoubtedly shape future interpretations of this

standard and, therefore, police practices.

The pressure experienced by police to obtain confession evidence is difficult

to overstate, since this evidence is considered to be the most potent and damning

type-even more so than eyewitness testimony. Deceptive interrogation is often

justified on utilitarian grounds by those who believe that the primary goal of the

criminal justice system (and therefore the police) is crime control. It is difficult

to argue the value of eliminating deception in whole or in part if one subscribes

to this view of the criminal justice system and assumes that the techniques learned

and practiced by interrogators are effective in distinguishing liars from those

who tell the truth. Moreover, if one assumes that lying can be confined to interrogation

rooms and that innocent people don't confess, any argument for the

abolition or limiting of deception in interrogation is not likely to gain traction.

Unfortunately, this view is limited at best, XXXXX XXXXX assumptions are often


Police in a democratic society must balance the need for crime control with the

need for justice lest they undermine their perceived legitimacy and, ultimately,

their long- term effectiveness. Empirical analyses of the most popular interrogation

techniques show only a marginal improvement (or in some cases a decrease) in an

individual's ability to detect deception. Police officers trained in such tactics are

more likely to prejudge guilt incorrectly and experience extreme levels of confidence

regarding their conclusions. The potential consequence is that intuition,

socialization, and formal training in these techniques may combine in the interrogation

room to blind investigators to exculpatory evidence. This may also spur

cajoling, trickery, and deception to such an extent as to elicit a false confession,

even if not intended. Even more worrisome is the assumption on the part of many

that an innocent person will not confess. Confession evidence holds considerable

sway over juries and, once presented, is difficult to discount. When false confessions

lead to gross miscarriages of justice, such as in the case of Ronald Kitchen,

public confidence in the institution is seriously eroded, and questions regarding the

limits of police power are raised that may compromise the effectiveness of law

enforcement institutions.

In a democratic society that places a high value on justice-the belief that it is

better to let 10 guilty suspects go rather than wrongly convict an innocent person-

it is difficult to argue for the unfettered use of deception in interrogation. The

courts will ultimately define the acceptable forms and the extent to which it can

be practiced. The need for efficiency will continue to exist alongside other values

that are central to our conceptions of justice. It is important that we understand that

many of the techniques of deception in use today fall short of their promise-while

adversely affecting judgments of guilt and inspiring unfounded confidence-and

that false confessions can and do occur.

References 87

Learn More on the Internet

[For more information on police interrogation issues go to and search on

the term police interrogation.


Ashcraft v. Tennessee, 322 U.S. 143 (1944).

Ayling, C. J. (1984). Corroborating false confessions: An empirical analysis of legal safeguards

against false confessions. Wisconsin Law Review, 4, 1121, 1191-1192.

Box, S. (1999). Lying: Moral choice in public and private life (2nd ed.). New York:

Vintage Books.

Bram v. United States, 168 U.S. 532 (1897).

Brown v. Mississippi, 297 U.S. 278 (1936).

Caldero, M. A., & Crank, J. P. (2010). Police ethics: The corruption of the noble cause (rev.

3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Anderson.

Cassell, P. G. (1998). Protecting the innocent from false confessions and lost

confessions-and from Miranda. The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 88,


Cassell, P. G., & Hayman, B. S. (1996). Police interrogation in the 1990s: An empirical

study of the effects of Miranda. UCLA Law Review, 43, 1084-1124.

Crank, J. P. (2004). Understanding police culture (2nd ed.). Cincinnati: Anderson.

DePaulo, B. M., & Pfeifer, R. L. (1986). On-the-job experience and skill at detecting deception.

Journal of Applied Psychology, 16, 249-267.

Florida v. Cayward, 552 So. 2d 971 (1989).

Gudjonsson, G. H. (1989). Compliance in an interrogation situation: A new scale. Personality

and Individual Differences, 10, 535-540.

Gudjonsson, G. H. (1992). The psychology of interrogations, confessions, and testimony.

London: Wiley.

Hartman, K. (2009). Charges dropped against 2 men convicted of murder. Retrieved

May 5, 2010, Available from


Hess, J. E. (1997). Interviewing and interrogation for law enforcement. Anderson:


Hess, J. E. (2010). Interviewing and interrogation for law enforcement (2nd ed.). New Providence,

NJ: LexisNexis Matthew Bender.

Illinois v. Perkins, 110 S.CT. 2394 (1990).

Inbaue, F. E., & Reid, J. E. (1962). Criminal interrogation and confessions. Baltimore:

Williams & Wilkins.

Inbaue, F. E., Reid, J. E., & Buckley, J. P. (1986). Criminal interrogation and confessions

(3rd ed.). Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins.

Inbaue, F. E., Reid, J. E., Buckley, J. P., & Jayne, B. C. (2001). Criminal interrogation and

confessions (4th ed.). Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen.

Jayne, B. C., & Buckley, J. P. (1999). The Investigator anthology. Chicago: Reid.

Jerome, R. (1995, August 13). Suspect confessions. The New York Times.

88 CHAPTER 5 Deception in police interrogation

Kamisar, Y. (1966). Dissent from the Miranda dissents: Some comments on the ‘New' Fifth

Amendment and the Old 'Voluntariness' Test. Michigan Law Review, 59, 594-635.

Kassin, S. M. (1997). The psychology of confession evidence. American Psychologist, 52,


Kassin, S. M. (2008). Confessi



Customer: replied 5 years ago.

confessions. Behavioral

Sciences and the Law, 16, 423-440.

88 CHAPTER 5 Deception in police interrogation

References 89

Ward v. State, 408 N.E.2d 140 (1980).

Ward v. Texas, 316 U.S. 547 (1942).

Warden, R., & Drizin, S. A. (Eds.), (2009). True stories of false confessions. Evanston, IL:

Northwestern University Press.

White, W. S. (1979). Police Trickery in inducing confessions. University of Pennsylvania

Law Review, 127, 581-629.

Woody, W. D., & Forrest, K. D. (2009). Effects of false-evidence ploys and expert testimony

on Jurors' verdicts, recommended sentences, and perceptions of confession

evidence. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 27, 333-360.

Wrightsman, L. S., & Kassin, S. M. (1993). Confessions in the court-room. Newbury Park,

CA: Sage.


1. Enumerate the different techniques police use to employ interrogatory


2. Explain the significance of the court case Miranda v. Arizona.

3. Distinguish between an interview and an interrogation. How does Miranda

influence each?

4. Describe the "slippery slope" argument, and give an example.

References 89




Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Using ethical dilemmas

in training police* 6

Joycelyn M. Pollock and Howard E. Williams






police ethics


A police detective is investigating a case involving the disappearance of a young

woman under suspicious circumstances, and investigators suspect foul play. During

the investigation, the detective learns that his niece has begun dating the missing

woman's ex-boyfriend, who is a "person of interest" in the case. Should the

detective warn his niece that her new boyfriend is potentially involved in his

ex-girlfriend's mysterious disappearance? If the boyfriend is not involved, by disclosing

his suspicions will the detective damage the boyfriend's reputation? If the

boyfriend is involved, will the detective jeopardize the investigation by disclosing


Should the detective remain silent and abide by the Canons of Police Ethics

(1992), which require the officer to keep secret confidential information unless

revelation is necessary in the performance of his duty? What if he says nothing

to warn his niece and the boyfriend later harms her? What if the niece and her family

then learn that the detective knew of the boyfriend's potential involvement in

the disappearance of another woman and had not warned them?

Where does the detective's principal duty lie? Should the detective protect his

niece, protect the investigation, protect the rights of the "person of interest," protect

his family relationships, or adhere to the Canons of Police Ethics? How can

the detective determine the proper ethical course? More important, how can we

best prepare law enforcement officers to untangle the Gordian knot of complicated

ethical dilemmas?

*This chapter is based on an earlier version, "Ethical Dilemmas in Policing," by Joycelyn Pollock

and Ronald Becker.

Justice, Crime, and Ethics.

© 2012 Elsevier Inc.. All rights reserved.

92 CHAPTER 6 Using ethical dilemmas in training police

This chapter discusses ethics training for police officers. With the advent of

video cameras and video recorders in cellular telephones, public scrutiny of police

actions is greater than ever. Because of Internet sharing sites such as YouTube,

Yahoo!, and Facebook, millions of people can view video of an officer engaged

in misconduct within minutes of its happening. Clearly, it is important to prevent,

or at least to reduce, the occurrence of such events, but the current emphasis on

stricter personnel screening, better training, improved internal processes, and internal

and external integrity units fails to fully solve the problem (Johnson & Cox,


For the police, ethical practice is not a simple matter of knowing and following

a set of rules. It requires considerable exercise of discretion and split-second judgments.

A long list of policy statements or a detailed rulebook cannot ensure that a

police officer is exercising good judgment. A framework for decision making that

fosters ethical decisions is required (Johnson & Cox, 2004).

There is a growing body of literature on the importance of teaching ethics in

criminal justice curricula. The classic literature first appeared in the 1980s and

early 1990s (Kleinig, 1990; Pollock, 1993; Pollock, 1994; Schmalleger &

McKenrick, 1991; Silvester, 1990). The new millennium witnessed a resurgence

of interest in the topic (Grant, 2002; Johnson & Cox, 2004; Lord & Bjerregaard,

2003; Pollock, 2010; Wyatt-Nichol & Franks, 2009), with police ethics receiving

the lion's share of attention. As interest in teaching ethics has grown, so has discussion

over the most effective way to deliver the lessons. Debate has focused on

the relative merits of college classroom education versus police preservice academy

training, but there is increasing recognition that both forms of instruction are


Police ethics is particularly relevant, according to Kleinig (1990), because of

the issues relevant to police, the discretionary nature of policing, the authority of

the police, the fact that the police are not habitually moral, the temptations inherent

in police work, and peer pressure. Moreover, in performance of their duties, the

police must constantly strike a balance between legitimate but often conflicting

values and rights (Marenin, 2004).

On reviewing the literature, one can readily identify the issues that have

attracted the attention of researchers (although this is not an exhaustive list): gratuities,

corruption, bribery, "shopping," loyalty versus whistle blowing, undercover

tactics, the use of deception, discretion, sleeping on duty, sex on duty and other

misfeasance, deadly force, and brutality. Because of their predominance in the

literature, one might assume that these are the most problematic ethical issues

in police work. However, officers often voice different perceptions. For example,

undercover tactics (i.e., deception) have received a great deal of attention in the literature,

but many officers never experience such issues because they are on patrol

and not on assignments that require covert activity. The issues of deadly force and

brutality are certainly important, but they are not day-to-day concerns for most

officers because these officers are rarely involved in such situations. A National

Using ethical dilemmas in training police 93

Institute of Justice study indicates that police officers use or threaten to use force in

only 1.6 percent of face-to-face encounters with citizens, and only 55 percent

of those encounters actually result in the police using physical force (Durose,

Smith, & Langan, 2007). In a participant observation study of police/citizen

encounters, Alpert and Dunham (2004) discovered that, compared to suspects'

resistance, officers often used less force than the law and their departments'

policies permitted.

Although most of the ethical issues discussed in the academic literature and

popular press involve officer misconduct and even criminality, many ethical issues

that should be covered in training do not involve misconduct at all. There are many

situations in which no decision an officer makes is clearly wrong, but the officer

does experience a dilemma, and training could help that officer work through the

possible choices to determine the best solution to the problem.

Only recently has the topic of ethics found its place in the training curricula of

law enforcement. Nearly every state now requires law enforcement recruits to

receive ethics training during preservice academy training; however, in comparison

to preservice academy training, ethics receives less attention in postacademy inservice

instruction (Wyatt-Nichol & Franks, 2009). Postacademy education in

ethics is important because it reinforces proper values and reduces the effects of

exposure to inappropriate behavior within the police culture (Braswell, Miller, &

Pollock, 2006; Caldero & Crank, 2010; Kratcoski, 2004).

The current emphasis on police cadet training and in-service instruction at the

executive level misses a critical mass of officers who are likely to experience ethical

dilemmas midcareer. Supervisors in an organization, such as sergeants and lieutenants,

are the most often overlooked groups for ethics instruction (Wyatt-Nichol

& Franks, 2009). Department policies, which are intended to give officers direction

on acceptable behavior and practices, too often create ethical dilemmas for officers.

It is critical, therefore, to train everyone who is involved in creating or interpreting

policy, including supervisors. Studying the dilemmas that officers confront

can be the catalyst for prompting policy reforms. Additionally, ethics training can

enable supervisors to better distinguish between insubordination and legitimate

ethical intervention (Wyatt-Nichol & Franks, 2009).

Law enforcement agencies often view ethics instruction as a single training

block, when it should be continually reinforced (Whisenand, 2009). Ethics courses

can be influential, but one lone course is unlikely to develop values or to change

behaviors (Lord & Bjerregaard, 2003). A study of police departments in

Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee indicated that the officers

involved were indifferent to their ethics training. The study's results imply that

either ethics training had no impact on the officers or that the amount or quality

of the training was insufficient (Lee, 2006).

Experience has taught that traditional pedagogical approaches are ineffective

for developing moral reasoning skills and ethical responses among law enforcement

personnel (Wyatt-Nichol & Franks, 2009). In the pedagogical approach

94 CHAPTER 6 Using ethical dilemmas in training police

the teacher is the expert lecturing to the student who is expected to learn the lesson

(Birzer, 2004). In their training, police officers show a preference for case studies,

but they dislike role playing, breakout sessions, and small group activities (Miller,

Braswell, & Whitehead, 2010; Redden, 2009).

The best way to prepare officers for policing based on democratic values is

through an andragogical approach to training rather than through the traditional

pedagogical approach (Marenin, 2004). In the andragogical approach, the teacher

is a facilitator, guiding students through exercises that enhance the students' capacity

to function as self-directed learners (Birzer, 2004). The andragogical approach

is the most appropriate method to teach ethics to police recruits and police officers

because it values the experience of the participants and it makes the material relevant

to current and future responsibilities (Wyatt-Nichol & Franks, 2009).

Instruction limited to discussions of philosophical systems is unlikely to be

effective, because officers do not find such instruction applicable to their needs

and experiences. Generally, police administrators and officers prefer the case study

method to learn about ethics (Van Slyke, 2007). Police officers generally find it

insulting to be told that committing a crime is an ethical issue, and instructors

who approach the topic that way soon lose the attention of the class participants.

There is a difference between ethics and discipline. Deciding whether to participate

in criminal behavior is not an ethical dilemma for police officers, and the discussion

need not consume precious time during ethics training.

As an andragogical tool, one author used ethical dilemmas turned in by class

participants as the foundation for course content. Ethical dilemmas are situations

in which it is difficult to make a decision, either because the right course of action

is unclear or the right course of action carries some negative consequences (Pollock,

2010). The instructor asked the class participants to write down a difficult

ethical dilemma they had faced. This assignment took place after presentation of

introductory material on ethics, morals, and value systems but before presenting

any issue-based material, so officers were not yet focused on any specific type

of dilemma. It was unclear whether officers reported ethical dilemmas according

to frequency, seriousness, or some other criteria. Issues that posed the most serious

ethical concerns may have been those that officers least commonly faced. Officers

might have identified examples of the most serious incident, the most recent incident,

or the incident most frequently presented to them. This exercise, however,

presented a useful way of obtaining relevant, realistic classroom material on which

to base a discussion of ethics.

Content of ethical dilemmas for police officers can also be gleaned from newspapers,

books on ethics, and journal articles. Delattre (2006) is a source for a number

of ethical dilemmas, as is Cohen and Feldberg (1991). Both Pollock (2010) and

Braswell, et al. (2006) provide dilemmas for police personnel and corrections and

other criminal justice professions. Pollock (1993) also discusses a number of categories

of police ethics that an instructor can use to develop other dilemmas: discretion,

duty, honesty, loyalty, and gratuities.

Discretion 95


Discretion is the authority to make a decision between two or more choices

(Pollock, 2010). Obviously, all ethical dilemmas involve making choices. The

situations categorized in this area, however, are within the purview of police discretion

(e.g., whether to arrest, whether to issue a citation, how to contend with

an altercation). The literature does not readily identify these dilemmas as ethical

issues, but, in some situations, officers feel uncomfortable about what the law or

regulations require them to do, or they are sincerely XXXXX XXXXX to the appropriate

course of action.

Typically, the law involved is relatively minor-a traffic citation, enforcing a

municipal warrant, or some nonviolent misdemeanor. The reason the officers hesitate

or feel that the decision presents an ethical dilemma is because of situational

elements (e.g., the age or poverty of the offender or the perception that the person

deserves a break). The following examples are representative of what officers

report as dilemmas:

An officer receives a call regarding a business holding a shoplifter. The 75-yearold

female suspect needs her medications. However, the manager of the business

insists on filing charges against her.

Security officers at the K-mart place a wagon call. You get there and find security

has detained a 70-year-old woman for trying to steal hearing aid batteries.

She is on a fixed income and unable to purchase such items. She even looks like

your mother.

While on patrol one day, I was dispatched to a disturbance at a gas station. On

arrival, I spotted a kid I saw in the neighborhood a lot. I knew this kid lived with

his grandmother and that they were barely making ends meet. I had run into

problems before with the kid begging for money and washing people's windows

at gas stations without being asked. The gas station attendant wanted the child

arrested for trespassing because he said the child harassed the customers.

Usually in these situations, the offender is poor and/or elderly. The storekeepers

insist on prosecution, leaving the officer to struggle between showing compassion

and enforcing the law. The next set of dilemmas presents no demanding complainant,

but the officer feels torn about enforcing the law or feels that strict legality

might not serve the ends of justice:

Officer A was faced with arresting a person on a parole violation. The officer,

while talking to family members, learned that the parole violator had just

started a new job, which was verified by his employer. What should Officer A

do? (The parole violation was for a first DWI.)

I arrested a lady with a baby for numerous traffic warrants. Do you take the

baby to juvenile and her to jail, make arrangements for someone else to care

96 CHAPTER 6 Using ethical dilemmas in training police

for the baby, or just let the woman go and tell her to take care of the warrants

on her own? She has no money and gave us no trouble.

Riding with a partner, we stopped a person in traffic for multiple violations, no

insurance, no driver's license, no ID at all, and who would face going to jail for

traffic violations on Christmas Eve. Would you discourage your partner from

taking him to jail?

The most frequent types of incidents that officers relate to involve women and/

or families with children stopped for some sort of traffic violation. Some officers

are very clear as to the criteria they use to guide their discretion, but others are less

certain about the ethical role of the police in traffic enforcement.

Discussion related to traffic offenses can involve discussions of the greater

good. If an officer does not want to arrest someone for traffic violations on Christmas

Eve, the officer should explain what decision she would make on Erev Pesach

or Ramadan. Is it the holiday itself and the officer's bias toward that religion (egoism),

or is it a sincere desire not to inflict distress on the driver and his family on

the eve of a religious holiday that is important to them (ethics of care)? Is it more

important to be concerned for the welfare of a child than to arrest the mother who

has neglected to pay or could not afford to pay for previously issued citations (utilitarianism)?

Does the law always apply so that there is no excuse for the violations

(ethical formalism)? The instructor can ask questions to guide the class participants

through the discussion so that they can determine for themselves the proper ethical

course of action.

Another category of dilemmas related to the exercise of discretion involves

situations in which no law or policy is involved, but the officer is still perplexed

regarding how to resolve the situation. These situations are often family disputes

in which a significant problem exists prior to interaction with a police officer.

Here the officer's dilemma arises from a sincere desire to do the right thing, but

the officer is not sure what the right thing is. Referral sources in the community,

although plentiful, are often unavailable or overused. The large number of these

dilemmas submitted by the officers indicates that they perceive significant ethical

issues in this area of policing. For most officers, it is not necessarily a question of

doing something wrong but rather of finding the best solution to a difficult


What do you do when called to a scene to transport and find some type of housing

for an elderly parent whom the family no longer wants because of mental

impairment, knowing that the family, in the past, has used the parent's resources

as their mainstay?

Officer A received a call regarding trespassing. The officer spoke at the residence

with the complainant, who wanted a female removed from his house.

The female had a small child and was the complainant's ex-girlfriend, who

had no family and no place to go.

Discretion 97

Class participants very often identify this last type of dilemma as problematic.

Typically boyfriends want girlfriends removed, girlfriends want boyfriends

removed, parents want children removed, and husbands want wives removed, or

vice versa, and the police officers called to the scene must apply the law to what

is essentially a family dispute. Police officers express the frustration inherent in

having to deal with what are essentially difficult interpersonal problems, such as

the examples below:

You and your partner are dispatched to a disturbance at a low-income apartment

complex. The call involves a drunk husband and drunk wife calling the

police for no reason. No crime has been committed. After being dispatched to

the same apartment unit three or four times in one night, how should an officer

resolve the situation? Arrest one or both for public intoxication inside their own

residence? Unplug the phone? Continue to return every time they call?

Officer A goes to a disturbance at a residence. It is his third time there. The

problem is the same each time. The father gets drunk, then tells his son, the

son's wife, and the son's kids to leave his home. The son refuses to take his

family and leave. The real problem is that the father is drunk and being unreasonable,

yet the father has a legal right to tell his son's family to leave. What

should you do?

Some dilemmas arise because of a personal or professional relationship

between the officer and the subject. Typically, this involves stopping a speeding

car and finding the driver to be another officer or responding to an altercation

involving another officer or family member.

You are on patrol, riding one man, at approximately 10: 00 P.M. You and one

other vehicle are stopped at a red light. The light changes and you and the other

vehicle start driving. Suddenly you observe the other vehicle weaving from lane

to lane. You turn on your lights and siren and after about an eight-block drive

the vehicle finally pulls over. You exit your vehicle and find that not only

is the driver very intoxicated, but he is also your first cousin. What should

you do?

While working a side job at a nightclub, you notice a disturbance on the far side

of the club. As you handle the problem, you discover that the instigator of the

problem is an off-duty officer who is extremely intoxicated and refuses to follow

your instructions. In addition, the other party involved, who is not an officer, is

claiming that the officer assaulted him, although the other party does not know

he is a police officer.

Officer A is on patrol. Suddenly he spots a vehicle traveling at a high rate of

speed. Officer A stops the vehicle and finds out that the person is a law enforcement

officer from a different agency. Officer A observes that he is highly intoxicated.

What should Officer A do?

98 CHAPTER 6 Using ethical dilemmas in training police

By presenting the last two situations as dilemmas, officers indicate that they

perceive special treatment given to other officers as questionable, even if they typically

defend preferential treatment. Professional courtesy is an issue that always

generates a great deal of debate in law enforcement groups.

Discussions arising from dilemmas concerning the use of discretion can center

on which criteria the class participants consider ethical and which criteria they find

have less ethical support in guiding the exercise of their discretion. For instance,

the risk of future harm posed by a traffic violator is an ethical criterion in deciding

whether to issue a citation, but the attractiveness of the driver definitely is not.

Because full enforcement is not always an option, officers must use discretion in

their decision making. It is important for them at least to recognize the ethical

issues involved in employing that discretion.

As it relates to the exercise of discretion, training in ethics helps the officer in

two very important ways. First, when officers are faced with difficult decisions in

the field, ethics training teaches them how to consider different options and how to

assess the possible consequences of choosing those options. A litany of rules and

regulations cannot be comprehensive enough to do that. Second, just as it should

be in a democratic society, officers are called on every day to justify their actions.

Participating in discussions about ethical dilemmas better prepares officers to

answer questions about their decision making when those questions arise.


Duty is a required behavior or action. Duty may involve situations in which the

officer knows that the job requires a particular action but feels that action is either

inconvenient or a waste of time. In the first situation, some of the examples of discretion

we've mentioned might also apply to duty. For instance, in the case of a

family altercation when a police officer responds and finds no crime has been committed,

what is his or her duty? Is there a duty to try to resolve a volatile situation

before it erupts into a crime? Some police officers believe that they have a duty to

help the poor and homeless find shelter; other officers do not see their job as

including such "social work." This is the type of discussion that inevitably brings

out differences of opinion among police officers and reveals how they view their

role in the community. It is, of course, also an ethical issue.

The other type of duty dilemma is more straightforward. The officer knows

there is a duty to perform a certain act. A frequent situation is the temptation

(and evidently widespread practice) of either driving by a minor accident scene

or avoiding it because it occurs near the end of a shift. There were also dilemmas

involving repetitive 911 calls and the temptation to avoid them or to respond to

them halfheartedly. The following were examples:

It is 10 minutes to off-duty time. You view an accident. Do you work the accident,

even though you want to go home, or do you avoid the accident by

sneaking around it?

Honesty 99

It is 10:30 P.M. and you are a late shift unit heading into the station when you

notice a large traffic jam. As you near the scene, you observe that it is an accident

involving two cars and a fixed object. Do you stop and respond or take the

back way to the station?

You get a disturbance call from the dispatcher at a certain location. You can see

the location from inside a building you are in, and you see that there is no disturbance

at that location. Is it necessary to leave the building to respond to the


Another duty dilemma issue arises concerning the risk of contracting communicable

diseases. Finally, there are miscellaneous duty issues regarding using regular

work hours to conduct personal business.

You are involved in a situation in which someone is injured and is in need of

cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). You know the injured person is a drug

addict and a criminal. Do you perform CPR or not?

Whether to get "in service" after clearing a call or staying "out of service" to handle

some personal business or affairs.

An officer works a plainclothes assignment in a division where each squad is

small and has its own supervisor. The officer's supervisor is off this day and

the likelihood of being noticed leaving early is almost nonexistent. So why not

cut out an hour and a half early when it will not be noticed? Your work will

not go undone.

Discussion in the classroom shows participants that not all police officers view

duty the same way. To move beyond a simple exchange of opinion, it is necessary

to apply an ethical framework analysis that helps each officer understand that,

although his or her position is legal and might be justifiable to some degree, it

might have less ethical support than other positions.


Under the general heading of honesty, officers submit dilemmas involving selfprotection

or enrichment, honesty versus the need to effect an arrest, and bribery.

Many participants relate dilemmas in which officers are confronted with temptations

of money or other goods, typically "found" or at burglary scenes.

Officers A and B are on the scene of a homicide involving a supposed drug

dealer who is lying dead on the ground. No one is present except the officers,

who then find $20,000 cash in suspect's pockets. Officer B insists that they

should keep and split the money with each other.

An officer is patrolling through an abandoned apartment complex when he

observes in the back of the complex a stack of lumber to be used for remodeling

100 CHAPTER 6 Using ethical dilemmas in training police

The officer is working on a project at home and could use a few pieces of the

lumber. Nobody else is around. What should he do?

One interesting device to start the discussion is with a dilemma using a $20 bill

"found" by a police officer, asking about the proper procedure, then continuing

the discussion with larger amounts of money. Although officers may feel that it

is a minor breach (if any at all) to keep the $20, at some point they perceive

keeping larger amounts of "found" money as unethical. The discussion then

becomes whether it is the amount of money or the keeping of it that should determine

the ethical nature of the response.

Another type of dilemma involves officers trying to cover up their own wrongdoing

by lying or not coming forward when they commit minor acts of wrongdoing.

Given the number of dilemmas reporting small "fender benders" with police

cars, one might surmise that the police parking lot is an insurer's nightmare.

An officer had an accident where there were no witnesses. Since it was an autofixed

object, the officer was at fault, but he did not want disciplinary action. The

officer was deciding whether to suggest that another car cut him off to explain

how the accident occurred.

In another situation, officers must either tell the truth and lose (or risk losing)

an arrest, or misrepresent facts to save the arrest. Although this is a popular topic

in the literature, it is not a frequent dilemma submitted by officers.

You stop somebody, check his pockets, and find some dope. You had no probable

cause to search him, but you did anyhow because you thought he might be holding.

Do you find a reason to arrest him and then put in the report that you found

the dope after the arrest, so it will not be thrown out in court?

Officer A sees a known crack dealer on a corner and searches him. He finds

drugs, makes an arrest, and then lies about or makes up probable cause for

the search in his report and in his courtroom testimony. Nobody knows but

the officer and the suspect. The suspect did have the drug, and he is a dealer

in that neighborhood.

The issue of lying about the facts of a case, called testilying, is a form of "noble

cause corruption" discussed by Caldero and Crank (2010). Testilying was central

to the infamous Rampart scandal in the Los Angeles Police Department. A yearlong

investigation brought 70 Los Angeles police officers under investigation

and led to the courts overturning more than 100 criminal convictions. Allegations

against the officers included planting evidence, filing false reports, and perjury.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office prosecuted four police

officers for conspiracy to obstruct or pervert justice. The city of Los Angeles

faced more than 140 civil suits stemming from the Rampart scandal, the costs of

which exceeded $70 million (Glover & Lait, 2005). Training can go a long way

to insulate officers from the temptation to subvert legal means for short-term goals

by showing what happens when an officer's lies are revealed. It is not an

Loyalty 101

understatement to say that lying to save one case endangers hundreds. When officers

are exposed as liars, their testimony becomes worthless.

Bribery is a reward for doing something illegal or for not performing a required

duty. There are usually very few submissions from officers dealing with bribery. It

might be that officers do not view bribery as a dilemma because they seldom

receive opportunities, or they do not want to admit that it occurs. Officers have

indicated that accepting a bribe is one of the most serious ethical violations that

an officer can commit (Klockars, Ivkovich, Harver, & Haberfeld, 2000). It might

be that officers understand that accepting a bribe is a criminal offense, and, as discussed

previously, officers consider abstaining from committing a crime a matter

of discipline, not a matter of ethics.

I was offered money for taking care of a ticket. I was also offered money for giving

information about a driver's license or license plate.

In discussing honesty, the instructor must be mindful that officers will often

claim that honesty and integrity are the paramount virtues in police service.

Nevertheless, they will likely present several scenarios of officers being untruthful.

The instructor can guide the class participants through a discussion of what

happened in those instances and what could possibly have happened had the deception

been discovered. Often the conversation reveals adverse consequences for

everyone who knows of the lie. When the officers understand the far-reaching

consequences, the lesson has more meaning.


In situations or dilemmas involving loyalty versus whistle blowing, officers must

decide what to do when faced with the wrongdoing of other police officers. The

literature accurately reflects the saliency of this issue for police officers, given

the frequency of this type of submission. Officers' dilemmas run the gamut, from

seeing relatively minor wrongdoing (e.g., overtime abuses) to very serious violations

(e.g., physical abuse of a suspect or the commission of another crime).

You are on patrol as you roll up on a possible narcotics transaction involving a

known dope dealer. You make the block to set up on the buyer, who is in a vehicle.

By the time you make the block, the buyer is rolling. You go to chase down

the buyer and it takes you several blocks to catch up to him. In your mind he is

trying to lose you. You manage to catch up to him about a mile away. It turns

out the driver is an off-duty sheriff's deputy. What do you do?

An officer is dispatched as a backup unit where an alarm is going off at a large

jewelry store. He insists on doing the report and listing items that were taken.

A couple of days later you see him wearing items or showing off items he claims

to have got [sic] a good deal on. These are items you saw in the store that was

burglarized. What should you do?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

102 CHAPTER 6 Using ethical dilemmas in training police

Finally, there are dilemmas involving actions that technically are crimes and

often pose risks to other officers, but they are not perceived to be as serious as buying

drugs or stealing from the scene of a burglary. Several of these dilemmas

involve minor traffic accidents. Because officers are disciplined for driving errors,

it is always a temptation to avoid responsibility.

You are standing in a parking lot when you notice Officer A backing his car out

of his parking space. He hits the car behind him, then drives off. A few seconds

later the owner of the car comes out and asks you if you saw what happened.

What should you do?

One day while leaving the parking lot, my partner was driving and accidentally

damaged a new patrol car, which was parked next to us. We both got out of our

patrol vehicle and observed the minor damage to the new vehicle. We both looked

around but did not notice anyone else near. My partner told me he would report it

to the sergeant at the end of the shift. However, the next day at roll call, the roll

call sergeant asked if anyone knew how the new patrol car received the damage.

Officer A sleeps on duty and does not run his calls. What should I (his partner) do?

Officer A is an alcoholic and consumes alcohol heavily every day. Even while

on duty, Officer A is intoxicated. Joe Blow, a concerned citizen who owns a

liquor store in the beat, knows of Officer A's situation. He decides to call Officer

B and advises him to talk to Officer A about the problem before it gets out of

hand. What should Officer B do?

Because covering up for another officer is now more risky, with the possibility of

individual civil liability, it might be that fewer officers are willing to draw the "blue

curtain." However, it is important to discuss this topic. Research indicates that officers

still feel they should cover up for other officers because the rank and file will

ostracize and sanction officers who come forth with the truth. In an attitude survey,

Weisburd and Greenspan (2000) discovered that 80 percent of police officers believe

the "code of silence" was not essential for police trust and good policing, but twothirds

of the officers believed that a whistleblower would encounter sanctions.

Current research hints that the "blue curtain of secrecy" is breaking down.

More officers seem to be willing to bear witness against fellow officers (Barker,

2002). However, officers are more likely to report wrongdoing of other officers

if it involves acquisition of goods or money rather than excessive force or violation

of departmental rules (Westmarland, 2005).


The subject of gratuities is hard to ignore in any law enforcement ethics class. It is

represented in the policing literature and identified by laypersons as a perennial

issue (Coleman, 2004; Kania, 1988, 2004; Prenzler & MacKay, 1995; Ruiz &

Gratuities 103

Bono, 2004; Sewell, 2007), but even researchers disagree on the effects of certain

gratuities. Critics (Coleman 2004; Ruiz & Bono, 2004) argue against gratuities.

They claim that:

1. Police officers are professionals, and professionals do not take gratuities.

2. Gratuities are incipient corruptors because people expect different treatment.

3. Gratuities are an abuse of authority and create a sense of entitlement.

4. Gratuities add up to substantial amounts of money and can constitute as much

as 30 percent of an officer's income.

5. Gratuities can be the beginning of more serious forms of corruption.

6. Gratuities are contrary to democratic ideals because they are a type of fee-forservice

for public functions.

7. Gratuities create a public perception that police are corrupt.

Kania (2004) counter-argues that:

1. Police are professionals, but other professionals accept gratuities.

2. There is nothing wrong with more frequent users of police services "paying

extra" for services.

3. "No-gratuity" rules are means of playing "gotcha" that erode morale.

4. Educators and academics distort the seriousness of gratuities.

Officers themselves often feel that there is nothing wrong with gratuities. One

distinction in these dilemmas is the difference between situations involving true

gratuities (i.e., something given to all police as a policy) and gifts (i.e., something

given to an individual in return for a specific action).

Officer A is new to his beat. Where he worked before, he would stop by a local

convenience store and get something to drink and pay for it. He has learned

from past experiences that people always expect something in return for free

gifts. In this new beat he stops by a store. The clerk refuses to accept payment.

Officer A explains that he would prefer to pay. The clerk, now upset, accuses the

officer of trying to be better than the others and will tell his supervisor, who also

stops by. What does Officer A do?

Officer A stopped in a store on his beat and was offered anything he wanted in

the store within reason: food, cigarettes, Skoal. And the worker offered him lottery

tickets, which he may or may not have taken. After several days of going to

the store, the worker tells the officer he sometimes has problems and could the

officer give the worker his beeper number so he can call him if he has problems.

The question is, should the officer give his beeper number and feel obligated to

return a call from this person because he has gotten free articles?

A guy's car had broken down on the freeway. As an officer on duty, I stopped.

I took him home since he only lived a short distance away in my beat. It was

early in the morning, and the man was very appreciative. He wanted to buy

me breakfast to show his appreciation, so he offered me five dollars

104 CHAPTER 6 Using ethical dilemmas in training police

Discussion involving the ethics of gratuities can be hampered by defensiveness

on the part of police participants. It is helpful to explore regional differences and

clearly discuss definitions (i.e., the difference between gratuities and gifts) and

the reason that gratuities to public servants constitute a problematic issue.

Training should reinforce departmental policies. Although some departments

permit certain types of gratuities, such as free drinks or meals, other departments

do not. Training should also provide officers a chance to share with each other

their way of dealing with gratuities. For instance, some officers will explain that

they do not argue with staff in a business where they are not expected to pay,

but they leave a tip equal to the cost of the meal. What often comes up in these

discussions is why it is that officers may be prohibited from taking gratuities but

the chief's office accepts sponsorships from restaurants or businesses for official

police functions. Many see this as hypocritical and contrary to the argument that

gratuities are wrong because they may lead to actual or perceived favoritism.



Descriptions of dilemmas submitted by officers indicate that they view many relatively

mundane issues as problematic. Decisions regarding whether to enforce a

warrant or ticket, what to do in a domestic disturbance, and whether to leave early

from an assignment are not as "serious" as police brutality or the use of deception

in undercover work. Yet it seems clear that if an ethics course for officers is to be

relevant, it should cover these issues as well. The approach one should take in analyzing

these dilemmas is up to the individual instructor. What follows is one way

to utilize these dilemmas in a classroom.

Most dilemmas can be resolved in many ways, and discussions that include only

two diametrically opposed positions fail to develop problem-solving skills. The

instructor should ask for a variety of solutions and explore the relative merits of

each, thereby helping the class participants understand the multifaceted approach

to resolving ethical dilemmas. Any class of police ethics must have a philosophical

basis to move it beyond a mere "bull session" of opinions. Although one may decide

to simplify matters and present only one ethical framework, such as utilitarianism,

and then use it to analyze ethical dilemmas, another approach may be to compare

several ethical frameworks, such as utilitarianism, ethical formalism, and religion

(see Pollock, 2010; Williams & Arrigo, 2008).

After dilemmas are submitted, it is useful to group them together in some order

so that similar dilemmas are discussed together. One benefit of this approach is

that officers realize they have similar concerns. The anonymity of the method

ensures that officers have the opportunity to address honestly and describe the

dilemmas they feel are most prevalent and important.

The first form of analysis is to determine at what level there is disagreement.

One might ask the following questions: What does the law require? What does

departmental policy require? What do personal ethics require? Interestingly, there

Now that we have defined the issues, what do we do with them? 105

is often heated discussion regarding legal definitions and policy mandates. This is

why some ethics classes become training courses in such things as domestic violence

laws and victim rights legislation. There may be agreement on whether there

is an applicable law but disagreement on departmental policy. There may be agreement

on law and policy but not on an ethical analysis. If there is an applicable law

or policy and there is still an ethical concern whether to follow such law or policy,

the issue of civil disobedience and duty becomes relevant. Can an officer be ethical

if he or she follows a personal code of ethics that is contrary to a departmental

directive? What if the departmental directive has no support from any ethical system?

These are sensitive and important issues.

If there is no applicable law or departmental policy, the discussion can quickly

be directed to an ethical analysis of possible solutions. The class should incorporate

a review of major ethical frameworks (e.g., utilitarianism, ethical formalism,

ethics of care, egoism). Participants then can be assigned to groups and be

provided an ethical framework that they must use to determine a solution that is

justified by that ethical framework. Another approach is to ask the class for the

best solution to the dilemma and then analyze that solution using the ethical framework.

For example, one of the previous dilemmas states:

An officer receives a call regarding a business holding a shoplifter. The 75-yearold

female suspect needs her medications. However, the manager of the business

insists on filing charges against her.

The first set of questions asks whether there is an applicable law. Yes, there is,

and the woman obviously broke it. Is there an applicable departmental policy?

Obviously, and the departmental policy would be to enforce the law, especially

when there is a complainant wanting to press charges. Does this resolve the

dilemma? For some officers it does. Some officers believe that their duty is to

enforce the law, not mediate it. Therefore, in this situation, they merely respond

to the event by enforcing the law. Other officers, however, would respond by

saying there is still an ethical issue. These officers identify this situation as a

dilemma. Their solution might be to try to convince the storeowner to drop

charges, perhaps even going so far as to pay for the items themselves. Is this their

duty? There is obviously no professional duty that dictates such action, but some

believe that personal ethics require a more complete response to the situation than

merely acting as an agent of the law. The ethical frameworks are then applied to

the possible solutions. Ethical formalism would be concerned with duties. Ethics

of care would focus on need. Utilitarianism would be concerned with the relative

costs and benefits of arrest versus some other intervention.

Another dilemma presented previously was the following:

Officer A is an alcoholic and consumes alcohol heavily every day. Even while

on duty, Officer A is intoxicated. Joe Blow, a concerned citizen who owns a

liquor store in the beat, knows of Officer A's situation. He decides to call Officer

B and advises him to talk to Officer A about the problem before it gets out of

hand. What should Officer B do?

106 CHAPTER 6 Using ethical dilemmas in training police

The first question remains, is there an applicable law? Public intoxication laws

may be applicable. There is almost certainly a violation of departmental rules.

Is there an ethical issue? Yes, it is personal loyalty versus whistle blowing. The

appropriate solution for any individual officer may be discussed in terms of his

or her own value system. Some officers value loyalty more highly than any other

virtue. Most balance loyalty against the severity of the wrongdoing. Alcohol use

is considered less serious than illegal drug use. More officers would more likely

take action against an officer using illegal drugs than against one abusing alcohol,

despite the fact that the resultant effects on the officer might be similar. A discussion

concerning this dilemma often involves the perceived unfairness of administrative

responses. For example, whereas other types of professionals might be

censured for alcohol problems, police officers with such problems often lose their

jobs and careers. This concern can be tied to utilitarianism. What are the relative

costs and benefits associated with turning the officer in, with talking to the officer,

or with doing nothing? An application of ethical formalism would be concerned

with the duty of the officer who knows the problem exists.

Ethics training requires officers to confront the "rightness" of certain actions

that they might not honestly be able to justify. It also allows officers to hear about

and discuss dilemmas they might not have confronted yet. By employing an andragogical

approach, officers can work through the dilemmas after being given the

tools of ethical frameworks.

Learn More on the Internet

For more on police training and ethics issues, visit

and search the word ethics.


This chapter presented the premise that the best ethics course for police officers is

one that is relevant to them because it relates to their business needs and personal

experiences. One way to achieve that goal is to use the officers' own dilemmas in

guiding a discussion of ethics. Most ethical dilemmas fall into particular categories,

such as discretion, duty, honesty, loyalty, and gratuities. The frequency of

submitted examples that concern more mundane issues indicates that the literature

on police ethics may have missed some important, albeit less "juicy," issues of

police ethics. Such dilemmas as what to do with an elderly shoplifter, whether

to enforce an outstanding warrant for a poor mother, or whether to report a

minor fender bender during a shift may not constitute the plot of great cinema

and television, but many police officers experience these quandaries nonetheless.

References 107

The andragogical approach to teaching ethics is well suited to police cadet and

police officer learning preferences, and the case study method of analysis we've

presented can be utilized for various types of ethical dilemmas. Combining the

andragogical approach with the case study method gives police officers the tools

to identify and resolve their own ethical dilemmas.


Alpert, G., & Dunham, R. (2004). Understanding police use of force: Officers, suspects, and

reciprocity. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Barker, (2002). Ethical police behavior. In K. Lersch (Ed.), Policing and misconduct (pp. 1-25).

Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Birzer, M. (2004). Andragogy: Student centered classrooms in criminal justice programs.

Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 15(2), 393-411.

Braswell, M., Miller, L., & Pollock, J. (2006). Case studies in criminal justice Ethics.

Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.

Braswell, M., Pollock, J., & Braswell, S. (2007). Morality stories (2nd ed.). Durham, NC:

Carolina Academic Press.

Caldero, M., & Crank, J. (2010). Police ethics: The corruption of noble cause (rev. 3rd ed.).

Anderson: Burlington, MA.

Cohen, H., & Feldberg, M. (1991). Power and restraint: The moral dimension of police

work. New York: Praeger Press.

Coleman, S. (2004). When police should say ‘No!' to gratuities? Criminal Justice Ethics,

23(1), 33-44.

Delattre, E. (2006). Character and cops: Ethics in policing (5th ed.). Lanham, MD: AEI


Durose, M., Smith, E., & Langan, P. (2007). Contacts between police and the public, 2005.

Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Glover, S., & Lait, M. (2005, March 31). LAPD settling abuse scandal. Los Angeles Times,

p. 5, Retrieved April 20, 2010, from


Grant, K. (2002). Ethics and law enforcement. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 71(12),


International Association of Chiefs of Police, (1992). Canons of police ethics. Arlington,

VA: author.

Johnson, T., & Cox, R. (2004). Police ethics: Organizational implications. Public Integrity,

5(7), 67-79.

Kania, R. (1988). Should we tell the police to say ‘Yes' to gratuities? Criminal Justice

Ethics, 7(2), 37-49.

Kania, R. (2004). The ethical acceptability of gratuities: Still saying ‘Yes' after all these

years. Criminal Justice Ethics, 23(1), 54-63.

Kleinig, J. (1990). Teaching and learning police ethics: Competing and complementary

approaches. Journal of Criminal Justice, 18, 1-18.

Klockars, C., Ivkovich, S., Harver, W., & Haberfeld, M. (2000). The measurement of police

integrity. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.

Kratcoski, P. (2004). Police education and training in a global society: Guest editor's introduction.

Police Practice and Research, 5(2), 103-105.

References 107

108 CHAPTER 6 Using ethical dilemmas in training police

Lee, T. (2006). Assessing the impact of ethical training on law enforcement personnel. Doctoral

Dissertation: University of Southern Mississippi.

Lord, V., & Bjerregaard, B. (2003). Ethics courses: Their impact on the values and ethical

decisions of criminal justice students. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 14(2),


Marenin, O. (2004). Police training for democracy. Police Practice and Research, 5(2),


Miller, L., Braswell, M., & Whitehead, J. (2010). Human relations and police work

(6th ed.). Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland.

Pollock, J. (1993). Ethics and the criminal justice curriculum. Journal of Criminal Justice

Education, 4(2), 377-391.

Pollock, J. (1994). Ethics in crime and justice: Dilemmas and decisions (2nd ed.).

Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Pollock, J. (2010). Ethics in crime and justice: Dilemmas and decisions (6th ed.). Belmont,

CA: Wadsworth.

Prenzler, T., & MacKay, P. (1995). Police gratuities: What the public thinks. Criminal

Justice Ethics, 14(1), 15-25.

Redden, D. (2009). Ethics training of law enforcement officers: The optimum means of conveyance.

Doctoral Dissertation: Capella University.

Ruiz, J., & Bono, C. (2004). At What price a ‘Freebie'? The real cost of police gratuities.

Criminal Justice Ethics, 23(1), 44-54.

Schmalleger, F., & McKenrick, R. (1991). Criminal justice ethics: An annotated bibliography.

Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Sewell, C. (2007). Gratuities: Pay now or later. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 76(4), 8-12.

Silvester, D. (1990). Ethics and privatization in criminal justice: Does education have a role

to play? Journal of Criminal Justice, 18, 65-70.

Souryal, S. (2010). Ethics in criminal justice: In search of the truth (5th ed.). Burlington,

MA: Anderson.

Van Slyke, L. (2007). Police ethics training: Preferred modes of teaching in higher

education law enforcement. Doctoral Dissertation: University of Texas.

Weisburd, D., & Greenspan, R. (2000). Police attitudes toward abuse of authority: Findings

from a National Study. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute

of Justice.

Westmarland, L. (2005). Police ethics and integrity: Breaking the blue code of silence.

Policing and Society, 15(2), 145-165.

Whisenand, P. (2009). Managing police organizations (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ:

Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Williams, C., & Arrigo, B. (2008). Ethics, crime, and criminal justice. Upper Saddle River,

NJ: Pearson.

Wyatt-Nichol, H., & Franks, G. (2009). Ethics training in law enforcement agencies.

Public Integrity, 12(1), 39-50.

References 109


1. If you were a police officer, what would you consider to be the five most

important elements that should be included in a police code of ethics? List

and describe each category.

2. Of all the categories listed in the text-discretion, duty, honesty, and

loyalty-which do you think is the most important? Explain your answer.

Which do you think is the least important? Explain your answer.

3. What are the dangers of accepting even minor gratuities such as free cups of

coffee, discounts, or free tickets to sporting or entertainment events? Can the

acceptance of gratuities contribute to more serious problems in policing?

4. To what extent should a police department strive to minimize discretion?

How can a department minimize or structure police discretion? Do officers

welcome limits on their discretion? Why or why not?



OK, I'll copy and paste and reorganize some more in a few hours...........

Thanks so much!

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Police ethics, legal

proselytism, and the

social order:

Paving the path to misconduct 7

Victor E. Kappeler, Gary W. Potter, and XXXXX XXXXX


appeals to higher loyalties

collective responsibility

condemnation of the condemners

denial of injury

denial of responsibility

denial of the victim

hero exceptionality

police use of force

techniques of neutralization

Crime, deviance, and unethical conduct can be found in almost every occupation

and profession. Just open a newspaper, turn on the television, or listen to the radio

and you will be exposed to abundant accounts of misdeeds by political leaders,

government regulators, members of the clergy, people in business, and even college

professors. Police are not unique in this sense, and it is safe to conclude that

virtually every U.S. law enforcement agency has witnessed some form of unethical

conduct, corruption, or scandal (Bracey, 1989; Kappeler & Alpert, 1998; Punch,

2009; Sherman, 1974). It is equally important to recognize that many police officers

are honest, hardworking people, as are many doctors, stockbrokers, and

college professors. Many police officers would never consider taking money in

exchange for not enforcing the law or intentionally misusing their legal authority

to use force. These same police officers, however, might not think twice about

accepting a free cup of coffee, using deception during a criminal investigation,

or even falsifying a police report to help ensure that a "dangerous" criminal is

taken off the street.

If unethical conduct can be found in every profession, why should we be

uniquely concerned with police ethics? The answer to this question is complex.

Policing is an occupation that shares many of the characteristics of other

Justice, Crime, and Ethics.

© 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

112 CHAPTER 7 Police ethics, legal proselytism, and the social order

occupations (Sherman, 1982), but it also has unique features. Like the clergy,

police officers are charged with responding to people in times of need and tragedy.

People often come in contact with the police during some of the most difficult

times in their lives. A parent who has lost a child in a car accident, a woman seeking

help to escape a violent relationship, or an abused child may all find themselves

coming into contact with the police. In less dramatic cases, people may

seek out the police for direction, counseling, or a referral to a social service

agency. People are likely to call the police for assistance regardless of whether

the matter requires a traditional law enforcement response. In this sense, police,

like the clergy, hold positions of public trust and are expected not to take advantage

of people in their time of need. Moreover, like teachers, police officers are

viewed by some (especially children) as role models. In fact, police go to great

lengths to promote themselves as role models, frequently participating in school

programs and often sponsoring events for children. Gaps in these early associations

are filled with media and popular culture aligning the police with the "good guys"

in the metaphorically ongoing war between good and evilgood being the side of

law and order; evil being represented by the threat of lawlessness and chaos. Police

officers who engage in unethical conduct are surely poor role models and set negative

examples for young people. Police are perhaps the most visible living symbol

of government. They represent, both symbolically and literally, our systems of

government and justice. The decisions made by police officers affect our perceptions

of government and justice.

Society's concern with police ethics and the high standards expected of police

officers cannot be solely explained based on policing's shared characteristics with

other occupations. One must consider the unique occupational features of policing

to fully understand the importance of police ethics. The police are vested with both

powers and responsibilities that few other occupations are accorded. Unlike governmental

bureaucrats, the clergy, or teachers, the police are given the power to

detain and arrest people, to search and seize property, and to use force (up to

and including deadly force) in carrying out legal mandates. These aspects of policing

alone may require that police be held to a higher standard of behavior than

other people in exchange for the enormous powers vested in them. In addition,

police have the power to open the gates to the justice system and force people

down a path they would not choose for themselves. A police intervention, therefore,

can forcefully change the course of a life and interfere with a person's right

to self-determination. These powers vest law enforcement officials with a significant

amount of authority that distinguishes them from employees in other


Police in U.S. society are charged with a complex mission and are accorded

extraordinary powers. Society has given this assignment with the expectation that

police will fulfill their responsibilities in a fair, impartial, and ethical manner

(Leo, Huberts, Maesschalck, & Jurkiewicz, 2008; Kappeler, Sluder, & Alpert,

1998). This also means that the public may see the police in paradoxical roles. It

is here, in this paradox, that the rules of exceptionality exist, but it is also where

The path to unethical conduct 113

exceptions to the rules between ethical rights and wrongs are cultivated. The police

are a governmental body whose ultimate mission is to protect the rights and liberties

of citizens. This responsibility is paradoxical in two senses. First, unethical

police officers represent one of the greatest threats to these same rights and liberties.

In other words, police who violate the public trust by engaging in unethical

behavior are one of the greatest threats to the protections extended to citizens in

a free and democratic society. Unethical conduct by police officers involves a

threat to the right to be free from unjust and unwarranted government restrictions

and intrusions. Second, many of the coercive authorities we grant the police to

accomplish their mission consist of the very behaviors from which we desire protection.

Police officers are allowed to use violence to prevent violence; to protect

freedom, they can take away our freedom; and they can seize property to prosecute

property crimes. "Having the authority to be coercive, and the discretionary nature

of such authority, creates the potential for corruption and abuse" (Braswell, 2001).

In all, policing is fraught with contradiction and ethical dilemmas even before an

officer pins on a badge or makes a decision.


The path to unethical conduct does not begin with actions; rather, it begins with a

way of thinking. We may not even be aware that the way we think influences our

choices and actions. In a broad sense, the way we view the world, our role, and

relationship to it and the way we situate behavior all contribute to the choices

we make and the actions we take. Many of the decisions we make are really

shaped-long before we act on them-by our perception of the world around

us. Do we see the world as being composed of good and evil people? Do we see

ourselves as a corrective force? Is the world a dangerous and disorderly place?

Are we responsible for bringing about safety and order? Do we see the world

as full of predators who prey on the weak and powerless? Is our role that of the

protector? Does it take exceptional and/or heroic acts to bring about law and

order? The answers to these questions, of course, depend on our socialization by

parents, friends, and peers; the information we are exposed to by the media,

schools, and churches; and our life experiences. To some extent, the way we see

the world and our relationship to it influences our decisions-even our choice of

occupation. People who become police officers are no exception to these


How the police think about themselves, their occupation, and the world around

them sets the stage for unethical conduct. Far too many police officers see the

world as a black-and-white morality play. The police often reduce their image of

the world to simple snapshots. People are cast into roles as good and evil actors,

predators and protectors, the forces of disorder, and the ensurers of order. People

become defined by their behavior in the moment, not by their history, who they

are, or where they have been. In this worldview, behaviors are decontextualized

114 CHAPTER 7 Police ethics, legal proselytism, and the social order

and people are dehumanized as becoming the objects of action, with all the shades

of gray of social life stripped away.

Historically, the progressive movement in policing pushed toward centrally

organized operations, this effort could be described by trying to eliminate political

exceptionality, therein circumventing law. Much the same opportunity can be

reasoned through what some have referred to as "unique opportunity for deviance"

(Barker & Carter, 1994; Kappeler et al., 1998; Reiss, 1971). Within the worldview

of good and evil, objects of action are either "with us or against us," decontextually

aligning the cosmic order into heroes and villains. Within contemporary hero

mythologies lies the reified notion of "heroic exceptionality" (McGowan, 2008).

Although the hero mythos is as ancient as the written text, the police profession

is relatively young yet has come to be perceived as the "thin blue line" boldly holding

evil or lawlessness at bay.

Police work is also imagined in simplistic terms. The police view of the world

is jaded by the perception of policing as the most critical of social functions. In this

black-and-white world, police begin to believe and project for the public the image

that they are the "thin blue line" that stands between anarchy and order. In this

drama, police are constantly faced with danger while they attempt to ferret out evil

and bring order to a chaotic world. This view of policing is reinforced by slogans

and metaphors such as "brave cops on mean streets," "police on the front lines of

the war on crime," and "better to be tried by 12 than carried by six." The war for

social order is seen by the police as so important that it requires sweeping authority

and unlimited discretion to invoke the power of law and, if necessary, the use of

deadly force-after all, we are at war. A free cup of coffee, a discounted meal, a

deception in court, protecting the criminal activities of a useful informant, or turning

a blind eye to an intentional push or shove of some "bad guy" all seem trivial

matters when you are on the front lines of a war. Likewise, using dirty or unethical

means to achieve "good" ends seems a relatively minor concern. Isn't everything

fair in love and war?

The vast majority of people who choose policing as a profession view themselves

as moral and ethical individuals. People become police officers for an array

of personal-and even noble-reasons. As Sherman (1982:51) points out, "Police

applicants tend to see police work as an adventure, as a chance to do work out of

doors without being cooped up in an office, as a chance to do work that is important

for the good of society, and not to be the ‘toughest guy on the block.'" This

observation is accurate; in fact, young people become police officers for a variety

of reasons, ranging from a desire to help and protect people and make a difference

in their community to a response to their personal victimization, a desire for job

security and exciting work, or just to get the "bad guys" off the streets. This does

not mean, however, that these desires do not flow from a common way of seeing

the world or a simplistic view of police work. Although expressed in a variety of

forms, the reasons people become police officers usually flow from a black-andwhite

construction of the world. After all, from where do we get the notion that

policing is an adventurous and exciting profession as opposed to dull and boring

The path to unethical conduct 115

work? To the ex-offender seeking job skills, the patient needing surgery, or the

person experiencing a life crisis, is policing really more important work than teaching,

medicine, or tending souls? Is there really an endless supply of really "evil"

people to take off the streets and a shortage of "moral" people, or do most of us

fall somewhere in the middle, like that of a masked hero? It is not that the people

who go into policing are predisposed to unethical behavior; it is that they are predisposed

to missing all the gray aspects of social life.

As good and moral people, police and those desirous of becoming police officers

are compelled to believe in the goodness of maintaining order, the nobility

of the occupation, and the fundamental fairness of the law and existing social

order. To maintain their self-perception, the police are compelled to view disorder,

lawbreaking, and lack of respect for police authority as enemies of a civilized society.

"They are thus committed (‘because it is right') to maintain their collective

face as protectorates of the right and respectable against the wrong and the notso-

respectable . . . Thus, the moral mandate felt by the police to be their just right

as the societal level is translated and transformed into occupational and personal

terms" (Van Maanen, 1978:227). For many people, policing is not just what they

do; it becomes who they are. Much like the heroes of contemporary myths-for

example, XXXXX XXXXX's aging Batman in the comic book classic, The Return of

the Dark Knight-when crime becomes too much for the police to handle, they

take it personally (1986). Law, authority, order, and the profession become extensions

of their moral selves. Challenges to any of these are seen as a personal assault

on police officers' morality, integrity, and sense of self.

If law, authority, and order are seen as fostering inequity or injustice, the police

self-perception would be tainted and the "goodness" of the profession would be

questioned by the public and the police themselves. Police could see themselves

no longer as partners in justice and protectors of the good but rather as partners

in repression-a role most police neither seek nor would be willing to recognize.

A black-and-white view of the goodness of order and law can, in fact, blind police

to unethical conduct. Enforcing "slave codes" becomes a means of maintaining

order, not a way of supporting a criminal system of agricultural production. Carrying

out the legal edicts of an immoral regime, such as that of the Nazis, is viewed

as supporting social transformation of a society under the rule of law, not as participation

in a holocaust. Arresting labor union agitators and civil rights organizers is

seen as an action enhancing the rule of law as a mechanism of social change, not

as the use of brutal force to maintain exploitation and discrimination. It is out of

this historically defining era of "pure evil" that characters such as Superman and

Batman were born. The characters were the embodiment of heroic exceptionality

in a period in which moral supremacy gave exception to and warranted even

a superhero capable of fantastic feats of heroic exceptionality (Vollum &

Adkinson, 2003).

Police who begin to question the goodness of the profession, the equity of

law, or the criticality of maintaining the existing social order often flee the occupation

for other careers, leaving behind those who have the strongest belief in this

116 CHAPTER 7 Police ethics, legal proselytism, and the social order

black-and-white world of morality. Most certainly, unethical or even corrupt police

officers do not get up in the morning, look into the mirror, and say to themselves,

"I'm really going to be bad or unethical today." The police construction of the

world, the occupation role, and the law itself provide more than ample legitimization

for departing from ethical expectations.


Almost every criminal justice student has heard a professor remark that law, morality,

and ethics are very different things. The law is neither a system of ethics nor a

moral orientation; it is a set of formal statements of authority that may or may not

be in keeping with ethical principles or moral beliefs. The law may represent little

more than the brutal use of state force to maintain injustice. Jim Crow and segregation

laws in the South, laws allowing for the detention of immigrants, and laws

suppressing the right of political protest and free speech are often little more than

the state's bald attempts to maintain power. The law may represent little more than

the canonization of economic power, allowing corporate criminals to kill and maim

with impunity while only criminalizing the actions of the poor. The law may be

ambiguous, badly written, and poorly constructed. The law may be little more than

a fraud, such as the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act

passed by the Nixon administration, ostensibly to control organized crime. RICO

was used not once by that administration against the mob, but it was used repeatedly

to attack groups opposing the administration's policies in Vietnam. The law

may be inherently discriminatory, such as present laws heavily penalizing the

use of crack cocaine by the poor but providing far lesser penalties for the use of

cocaine hydrochloride by the affluent. The importance of this distinction, however,

often vanishes when students leave the academic community and enter the world

of policing. The transformation from student to police officer involves extensive

indoctrination. This process begins with formal training police receive at the


Although many police academies provide new recruits with 4 or 5 h of ethics

training, this exposure pales compared to the legal training given. During hundreds

of hours of legal training, recruits are exposed to a very rigid way of looking at

human behavior and what constitutes right and wrong. Recruits are asked to memorize

and parrot back to their trainers the elements of literally hundreds of criminal

statutes. Rarely are discussions of the ambiguity of the law, the gray areas of

human behavior, or the distinctions between ethics and law ever held in these settings.

The law is presented as an unquestionable system of rights and wrongs. In

the world of police training, the law is not something to be challenged; it is to

be mastered as the foundation for moral action. During this experience, recruits

slowly internalize a simple value system: what is legal is good and what is illegal

is bad. People, behavior, and the police role are once again cast into simplistic distinctions

between right and wrong.

Legally permissible but unethical conduct 117

The formality, precision, and seemingly unambiguous nature of the law are

seductive to young scholars and recruits struggling to find their moral place in

the world. Recruits learn formal statements of authority that support their

black-and-white picture of the world. People become defined by their legal

behavior, and the difference between good and bad is often as simple as the elements

of a crime. The law is comfortingly seductive to people looking to make

sense of all the evil, chaos, and disorder they see around them every day.

Recruits also learn that they have a special place in this system of legal authority

and that their actions will be judged not by the ethical nature of the choices they

make but rather by the extent to which their actions fall within legal bounds.

What is good, what is right, and what is ethical become intertwined with what

is legally permissible.

The special legal privileges accorded the police provide unprecedented

opportunities to engage in legally legitimated conduct that can be ethically

questionable. Police, for example, are granted the authority to use force to

accomplish their legal objectives. They are legally justified to use force under

certain circumstances. The justification and legal authority to use deadly force

may, however, mask an unethical use of force. Police have been known to contrive

situations that would allow them to use deadly force when lesser means,

or no force at all, could be used to accomplish the same legal objective. Sensational

cases such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) storming of the

Branch Davidians' home in Waco, Texas, and the sniper execution of two

members of the Weaver family at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, come to mind. In both

cases, constitutional rights were set aside by members occupying the highest

levels of federal government. The legal construction of police use of force neither

requires police officers to seek out alternatives to the use of force nor does

it recognize the officer's motives for using force as a factor in determining

whether a use of force is legally reasonable. Likewise, the government sets

aside its own legal rules when it becomes politically convenient to do so. In

this sense, an unethical use of force can be perfectly legal and considered a

"just" or even "righteous" use of force.

The use of the law in narcotics investigations provides a similar example. The

activities of one drug dealer may be deemed sufficiently reprehensible to allow

police to pursue him or her with vigor, often protecting other drug dealers who provide

information or facilitate arrests in the process. In this case, the police make a

legal decision to grant a crime-committing license to some violators in order to

"get" others. Police frequently construct informant relationships with fences to

get information on specific thefts or on the flow of money through the criminal

underworld. Here, again, some people are permitted to violate the law, inviting

heroic exceptionality, to enhance enforcement of the law.

Not long after graduating from the police academy, officers learn that the law is

not merely a statement of authority that restricts behaviors but that it can be used

to make progress in the war against crime. The law is often written and can be

interpreted in ways that give the police sufficient latitude to engage in unethical

118 CHAPTER 7 Police ethics, legal proselytism, and the social order

conduct in their pursuit of their crime control objective. Richard Ericson (1981:91)

has noted in this respect that "substantive laws are written broadly enough, and

with sufficient ambiguity, that they can be applied across a range of circumstances.

Causing a disturbance, a breach of the peace, obstructing police, and many others

serve as a pretext for making the arrest." Because of the ambiguity in criminal law

and the police situational interpretation of these legal mandates, the law itself

contributes to unethical conduct. Ericson's discussion of the legal discretion available

to police illustrates how the police can use the law as a tool that facilitates

achievement of enforcement objectives rather than as a guide to how those objectives

are to be achieved. The structure of the law itself allows for an endsover-

means justification of police misconduct. The mass appeal to a new extremist

hero can be viewed in the successful Fox network TV show 24, specifically in the

character Jack Bauer emerging within the perpetual threat into which terrorism has


In short, manipulation and the situational application of the law to achieve

enforcement objectives are often seen as acceptable (or even masterful) police

work rather than unethical conduct. For example, identical legal infractions-

such as two traffic violations-can result in different outcomes, depending not

on the violation but on the motives of the police. First, police can merely release

the citizen with no more than a verbal warning-there is no legal mandate that

the police enforce all minor infractions of the law. Second, the police employ

the force of law by issuing a citation or summons for the violation. Third, if

police feel that the citizen fits the "mold" or "profile" of one in need of state control,

the person may be arrested. Fourth, the police may arrest the person for the

sole purpose of searching his or her vehicle for criminal evidence. Because the

law does not recognize the motives of the officer and considers only the initial

violation, the officer has acted in a legally permissible fashion. Racism, sexism,

retribution, or a desire to skirt the Fourth Amendment are all washed away with

the "good arrest." Examples of unethical but legally permissible police behavior

abound. They can range from stacking or jacking up charges against citizens for

purposes of coercion to contriving situations that allow officers to use deadly

force (Kappeler et al., 1998).


Living and working in the world of policing provides officers with the ability to

rationalize, excuse, and justify unethical behavior while maintaining a moral

self-image. The police occupation provides its members with a handy conceptual

tool box that allows officers to engage in unethical behavior without suffering

the cognitive dissonance and social stigma normally associated with wrongdoing.

Police are, in essence, prepared to act unethically because of their worldview,

the way police work is legally and perceptually framed, and the manner in which

their actions are socially situated.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Socially situating unethical behavior 119

Although the police may view themselves as moral agents in a dangerous world

full of evil people, they must first frame the use of force as a viable response to

people and as an effective means of crime control before it can become a course

of action. Whether this perceptual frame is expressed or experienced intuitively

or learned as legal doctrine, it prepares police to use force. A perceptual frame

begins to take shape and become a reality when an "event" unfolds, falls within

the pre-established frame, and is incorporated into an actor's collective experience.

Our perceptual frames are reinforced and strengthened as events meet our expectations.

Events become factors that help interpret future events and courses of action.

As Harold Garfinkel (1967:113) instructs, "It consists of the possibility that the

person defines retrospectively the decisions that have been made . . . in order to

give their decisions some order . . . ‘officialness,'" or justification.

Sykes and Matza's (1957) theory on the techniques of neutralization used by

juveniles to explain their delinquency is particularly instructive for understanding

how police officers draw on preconstructed frames of reference to excuse, justify,

and rationalize a variety of unethical behaviors. Sykes and Matza theorized that

delinquents use techniques of neutralization that allow them to maintain a positive

self-image even though they have engaged in wrongdoing. These techniques

included denial of responsibility, denial of injury, denial of the victim, condemnation

of condemners, and appeals to higher loyalties.

Denial of responsibility prepares police for unethical conduct and provides a

justification following the commission of an unethical act. Denial of responsibility

is the belief that the potential or real injury caused by conduct is "due to forces outside

the individual and beyond his control . . . ." (Sykes & Matza, 1957:667).

Police rationalize their conduct by viewing themselves as little more than "billiard

balls on a pool table" rebounding from external influences. Police see themselves

as being buffeted back and forth between administrative policies and political decisions

made at headquarters by administrators who no longer understand the "reality

of the streets," by citizen calls and complaints identifying specific criminal actions

to be investigated and acted on, and by a pervasive panorama of criminality that

they see and feel all around them. They are following orders, serving the public,

or making their own choices about who is worse among an endless sea of the

bad and the law breaking. Political pressures may have them arresting drunk drivers

1 week, prostitutes the next, and crack dealers the next. They are simply

responding to pressures beyond their control and to the actions of a seemingly endless

number of miscreants who could have chosen not to behave criminally. From

this frame of reference, police officers view their actions as predetermined by

criminals, events, and situations that they cannot influence or control.

The training police receive in the use-of-force continuum is a good example of

how police officers are socialized into viewing themselves as passive actors who

are merely responding to the provocative behaviors of citizens. In this training,

police are instructed that their use of force is always a response to a citizen's

behavior-whether verbal or physical. Police are instructed that when a citizen

takes an aggressive action, the officer is to respond to that action with a higher

Although the police may view themselves as moral agents in a dangerous world

full of evil people, they must first frame the use of force as a viable response to

people and as an effective means of crime control before it can become a course

of action. Whether this perceptual frame is expressed or experienced intuitively

or learned as legal doctrine, it prepares police to use force. A perceptual frame

begins to take shape and become a reality when an "event" unfolds, falls within

the pre-established frame, and is incorporated into an actor's collective experience.

Our perceptual frames are reinforced and strengthened as events meet our expectations.

Events become factors that help interpret future events and courses of action.

As Harold Garfinkel (1967:113) instructs, "It consists of the possibility that the

person defines retrospectively the decisions that have been made . . . in order to

give their decisions some order . . . ‘officialness,'" or justification.

Sykes and Matza's (1957) theory on the techniques of neutralization used by

juveniles to explain their delinquency is particularly instructive for understanding

how police officers draw on preconstructed frames of reference to excuse, justify,

and rationalize a variety of unethical behaviors. Sykes and Matza theorized that

delinquents use techniques of neutralization that allow them to maintain a positive

self-image even though they have engaged in wrongdoing. These techniques

included denial of responsibility, denial of injury, denial of the victim, condemnation

of condemners, and appeals to higher loyalties.

Denial of responsibility prepares police for unethical conduct and provides a

justification following the commission of an unethical act. Denial of responsibility

is the belief that the potential or real injury caused by conduct is "due to forces outside

the individual and beyond his control . . . ." (Sykes & Matza, 1957:667).

Police rationalize their conduct by viewing themselves as little more than "billiard

balls on a pool table" rebounding from external influences. Police see themselves

as being buffeted back and forth between administrative policies and political decisions

made at headquarters by administrators who no longer understand the "reality

of the streets," by citizen calls and complaints identifying specific criminal actions

to be investigated and acted on, and by a pervasive panorama of criminality that

they see and feel all around them. They are following orders, serving the public,

or making their own choices about who is worse among an endless sea of the

bad and the law breaking. Political pressures may have them arresting drunk drivers

1 week, prostitutes the next, and crack dealers the next. They are simply

responding to pressures beyond their control and to the actions of a seemingly endless

number of miscreants who could have chosen not to behave criminally. From

this frame of reference, police officers view their actions as predetermined by

criminals, events, and situations that they cannot influence or control.

The training police receive in the use-of-force continuum is a good example of

how police officers are socialized into viewing themselves as passive actors who

are merely responding to the provocative behaviors of citizens. In this training,

police are instructed that their use of force is always a response to a citizen's

behavior-whether verbal or physical. Police are instructed that when a citizen

takes an aggressive action, the officer is to respond to that action with a higher

120 CHAPTER 7 Police ethics, legal proselytism, and the social order

level of force than that of the citizen. No allowance is made for the ambiguity of

the situation or the law, for the ability of the citizen to understand or respond, or

for the simple human emotions that the citizen may feel. At each stage of action,

the police officer moves up the continuum until the citizen's action is halted.

This construction of police use of force assumes that police are merely responding

to citizens' behaviors and that police action, verbalization, and demeanor have

no contribution to the citizen's behavior. Accordingly, police officers are not

responsible for their contribution to the situation or their forced response. Defiant

citizens are viewed from this frame as provocateurs in need of police control.

When police use violence or an unethical application of law, they are merely

responding to the provocation of citizens, situations, and events over which they

have little or no control and for which they are not responsible, regardless of their

own contributions to the situation or their departure from ethical principles.

Denial of responsibility provides police with an after-the-fact justification for

their abuse of authority. Police who engage in brutal assaults on citizens often

allege that they were forced into it because there was no alternative course of

action or that it was expedient-the citizen or situation "forced their hand." Waco

and Ruby Ridge are two classic examples of the police being "forced" into violence

when simply waiting might have resulted in different outcomes. These forced

choices, however, are constructed by the manner in which police work and the use

of force have been constructed. For the police, "never back down," "no duty to

retreat," and "no legal obligation to seek out alternatives to the use of force" construct

their thinking. By offering these excuses, police can violate ethics while

maintaining an ethical self-image. Police can make the legal choice to enforce

the requirements of a minor municipal ordinance, such as those governing parades

and demonstrations, vigorously and violently while ignoring the overarching reasons

for that demonstration. While ignoring segregation and racism, police in

Birmingham, Alabama, can turn dogs and fire hoses on peaceful demonstrators

whose only crime is not having a permit. While ignoring the immorality of an

undeclared war, police in Chicago can riot against antiwar demonstrators who have

no permit to be in a park after dark. Police can enforce loitering laws against prostitutes

while never questioning the social and economic arrangements of a sexist

and patriarchal society that makes prostitution a viable alternative for many

women. "By learning to view himself as more acted upon than acting," an officer

"prepares the way for deviance from the dominant normative system without the

necessity of a frontal assault on the norms themselves" (Sykes & Matza,

1957:667). Police are able to sidestep their ethical violations by shifting responsibility

to victims and invoking their legal authority and training as the basis for


Denial of injury is a technique of neutralization that provides police with a host

of justifications for their unethical acts. Because many police breaches of ethics do

not involve the direct physical injury of a citizen or seem of little consequence to

police, they are free to pursue them. From this frame, "wrongfulness may turn on

the question of whether anyone has clearly been hurt by his deviance, and

Socially situating unethical behavior 121

this matter is open to a variety of interpretations" (Sykes & Matza, 1957:667).

Denial of injury occurs when police steal evidence from suspects, when they violate

civil rights to make arrests or get convictions, and when they abuse their

authority to establish or maintain their personal sense of order. Planting evidence

on a suspected drug dealer, committing perjury to justify an illegal search, and

harassing prostitutes are all seen to have no deleterious impacts either to the individual

or to the rule of law. Changing reports and rehearsing testimony to iron out

contradictions and in the end change the facts are all acceptable procedures in

prosecuting a war on crime. The police can employ this technique to maintain that

the suspect should not have had contraband in the first place, the citizen was a

criminal deserving of something less that the full protection of civil rights, or the

juvenile had to be "moved along" to prevent crime and ensure order.

For police, the theft of property from a suspect can be socially situated as "confiscation."

The padding of overtime records can be viewed as "just compensation"

for someone on the front lines of the war on crime. Perjury is just "embellishing"

the facts or recalling previously forgotten information to convict someone who is

"guilty anyway" and needs to be taken off the street.

Denial of the victim is not the assertion that victims do not exist but rather a

characterization of victims and victimization in an attempt to justify unethical

behavior. Sykes and Matza explain that "the moral indignation of self and others

may be neutralized by an insistence that the injury is not wrong in light of the

circumstances. The injury, it may be claimed, is really not an injury; rather, it is

a form of retaliation or punishment" (Sykes & Matza, 1957:668). This technique

of neutralization provides police with viable targets for victimization by characterizing

certain individuals and situations so that police misconduct is seemingly

justified, given the imputed character of the target and the interpretation of the

circumstances. Socially situating people into good and evil, dangerous and

friendly, deserving and not so deserving allows those people to become acceptable

victims. For example, consider a situation in which a traffic violator decides to run

from the police. The offender and situation can be viewed in several different

ways. The officer can perceive the situation as consisting of a relatively minor violation

of the law-someone has committed a traffic offense and has overreacted by

selecting a very poor course of action. Alternatively, the officer may define the citizen

as a dangerous fleeing felon who has taken a drastic and hazardous course of

action. Depending on perception and definition, the citizen may be seen as deserving

a little more of the full force of law. In these situations, police are prone to

exact a pound of flesh. In other words, police reason away their use of force as

the justifiable punishment of people deserving of such treatment. In essence, the

officer "moves himself into the position of an avenger and the victim is transformed

into a wrongdoer . . . To deny the existence of the victim, then by transforming

him into a person deserving injury. . ." is to recognize "appropriate and

inappropriate targets" for victimization (Sykes & Matza, 1957:668). Denial of

the victim also invokes a kind of legitimated prejudice for police. The poor, young,

minority-group drug dealer is seen as being less worthy than the drunk-driving

122 CHAPTER 7 Police ethics, legal proselytism, and the social order

middle-class executive. No consideration is made for the family of the drug dealer.

No consideration of who will pay the rent, who will buy the family food, or who

will provide for the children is necessitated by the law. However, the impact of

an arrest on the social status of the middle-class drunk driver often allows for a

greater and more humane exercise of discretion. It is all legal; it is all justified

in the black-and-white world of order maintenance. This pattern repeats itself often

in policing. The middle-class housewife victimized by a confidence game is more

deserving of protection than the prostitute raped by her john. The middle-class

juvenile is more likely to "get help" and straighten out his or her life than the

impoverished teen who must be arrested and detained to protect society.

Police often invoke what Sykes and Matza (1957:668) have characterized as the

technique of condemning the condemners. This technique involves a reaction to

the detection of unethical conduct and a response to those who either allege or

sanction it. By employing this technique, the police officer "shifts the focus of

attention from his own deviant acts to the motives and behaviors of those who disapprove

of his violation. His condemners, he may claim are hypocrites, deviants in

disguise, or impelled by personal spite" (Sykes & Matza, 1957:668). Police condemn

the edicts of external examiners when they conflict with their frames of reference

by imputing motive on those justice personnel who attempt to curtail police

autonomy, authority, and wrongdoing. As opposed to heroic exceptionality, the

exclusionary rule is used by lawyers who are just out to "make a buck." Those

who developed this rule did so just to provide a "loophole" for criminals and make

it more difficult for the police to make progress in the crime war. Criminal charges

brought by the police against citizens are reduced in plea-bargaining arrangements

because judges and prosecutors are "soft on crime." The goodness of the legal code

remains, but the actors and the legal process have become corrupted. A second

form this technique takes is a condemnation of those people who bring charges of

misconduct against the police. Citizens who bring complaints against the police

are merely "hostile" toward law enforcement, "resentful" for being ticketed or

arrested, or merely "money-grubbing" individuals out to make a "quick buck" by filing

a lawsuit against the police. Certainly, evil people would have no problem with

making these unfounded claims. A third use of this technique is to condemn those

people who pass judgment on police conduct. When police officers are convicted

of crimes or held liable in civil proceedings, the condemners of police are often characterized

as unable to understand the "realities" of police work or the "dangerousness"

of criminals. To the police, these people are merely "armchair quarterbacks"

who use 20/20 hindsight to pass judgment on actions they do not understand.

As with the other techniques of neutralization, condemning the condemners

serves to prepare the police for exploits by predetermining that the legal rules of

police conduct, those who may allege misconduct, and those who may be called

on to sanction misconduct are themselves unjust, corrupt, deviant, or ignorant.

Through condemnation, police sever the link between their potential courses of

action and the negative stigma of unethical conduct. Police reject the exclusionary

rule before its application, thus freeing themselves to collect evidence in an illegal

Collective responsibility for unethical police conduct 123

manner; they reject citizens' allegations of police wrongdoing by attributing them

to resentment and hostility; and they reject challenges to their authority and autonomy

by condemning those who pass judgment on them. Police can therefore deviate

with a steadfast belief that they are righteous in their actions, even if such

actions involve "bending," "sidestepping," or "twisting" ethics.

Police appeal to higher loyalties is perhaps the most powerful technique of

neutralization used by police. More than any other, this technique allows police

to break the bonds of ethical behavior. In Sykes and Matza's (1957:669) words,

"internal and external social controls may be neutralized by sacrificing the

demands of the larger society for the demands of the smaller social group. . . ."

Applied to police, this means that officers may be forced to choose between the

sanctions that are associated with violating or adhering to one or another set of

values. For example, a police officer who sees her partner brutalize a citizen

may be called on to give testimony. The officer is forced to make a decision

between committing perjury (so as not to implicate her partner) or adhering to

the police code of secrecy that prohibits "giving up" another cop. The officer

can testify that she either saw nothing or that the partner did not engage in brutality,

in so doing escaping the sanction of peers but running the risk of being charged

with perjury. One might suspect that this is a wrenching decision. The officer must

protect her partner but do so in a manner that preserves a law-abiding and conformist

self-image. Quite the contrary, though, this decision is often relatively easy.

Protecting a fellow officer is expected and even considered noble rather than criminal.

The officer who commits perjury to protect a fellow officer has demonstrated

loyalty and solidarity to the group by placing himself or herself in harm's way.

After all, who is deserving of protection, the police officer on the frontlines of

the crime war or the criminal? As Sykes and Matza (1957:669) note, "the most

important point is that deviation from certain norms may occur not because the

norms are rejected but because other norms, held to be more pressing or involving

a higher loyalty, are accorded precedence."



It is not just the police whose black-and-white view of the world makes this ethical

quagmire inevitable. The entertainment media contribute with their fictional views

of good and evil. There is little ambiguity in police dramas on television. The police

are always seen as good, effective, and successful. They must overcome the legal

protections provided to citizens, and they must circumvent bureaucratic and administrative

controls. The inherent "badness" of the suspect is not mitigated by social

concerns or economic circumstances. Television criminals rarely have low IQs that

make it impossible for them to understand the law. Television criminals rarely act

out of fear, anger, or desperation; instead, they plan and connive to achieve their

ends. The news media are not much better. The view of police under siege, the view

124 CHAPTER 7 Police ethics, legal proselytism, and the social order

of police being outgunned and overwhelmed, the view of police as holding back a

tide of criminality-all are standard news magazine fare. Politicians also contribute

to this worldview. All politicians are anti-crime, pro-police, law-and-order activists.

The poor, who bear the brunt of the criminal laws passed by politicians, neither vote

in sufficient numbers nor make sufficiently attractive political contributions to gain

any consideration in the criminalization process.

Crime becomes a societal passion play but a very disturbing one when viewed

closely. As we watch this black-and-white world portrayed on television and in the

newspapers, nagging questions emerge-questions that are all but ignored by the

legal orientation of policing. For example, is it really a war on crime we are fighting

or is it a war on troublesome and unsettling people? How many mentally ill

individuals denied care by this society have become criminal problems? How do

we explain the fact that 15 percent of all illegal drug users in this society are black,

whereas 45 percent of all those arrested for drugs and portrayed on the television

news as drug dealers are black? Is it law that we are enforcing or is it a system

of legalized apartheid? And how do we judge the police who enforce those laws

in either an ethical or unethical manner? Do we judge them on the basis of narrow

legal definitions that protect injustice and promote unethical conduct or on the

basis of the social consequences of their actions?

Learn More on the Internet

For more on police ethics, misconduct and abuse, visit and search on the

term police abuse.


Barker, T., & Carter, D. L., (Eds.), (1994). Police deviance (3rd ed.). Cincinnati: Anderson.

Bracey, D. H. (1989). Police corruption. In W. G. Bailey (Ed.), The encyclopedia of police

science. New York: Garland.

Braswell, M. (2001). Ethics, crime and justice: An introductory note to students. Chapter 1,

this volume.

Braswell, M., Miller, L., & Pollock, J. (2006). Case studies in criminal justice ethics. Long

Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

Ericson, R. V. (1981). Rules for police deviance. In C. Shearing (Ed.), Organizational police

deviance 83-110. Toronto: Butterworths.

Garfinkel, H. (1967). Studies in ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Kappeler, V. E., Sluder, R. D., & Alpert, G. P. (1998). Forces of deviance: Understanding

the dark side of the force (2nd ed.). Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland.

Leo, W., Huberts, J. C., Maesschalck, J., & Jurkiewicz, C. L. (2008). Ethics and integrity of

governance: Perspectives across frontiers. New York: Edward Elgar.

Punch, M. (2009). Police corruption: Deviance, accountability and reform in policing.

Portland, OR: Willan.

References 125

McGowan, T. (2008). The exceptional darkness of ‘The Dark Knight'. Jump cut: A review of

contemporary media, Retrieved from darkKnightKant/


Miller, F. (1986). Batman: The dark knight returns. New York: DC Comics.

Reiss, A. J. (1971). The police and the public. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Sherman, L. W. (1974). Police corruption: A sociological perspective. Garden City, NY: Anchor.

Sherman, L. W. (1982). Learning police ethics. Criminal Justice Ethics, 1(1), 10-19.

Sykes, G. M., & Matza, D. (1957). Techniques of neutralization. American Sociological

Review, 22, 664-670.

Van Maanen, J. (1978). The asshole. In P. K. Manning & J. Van Maanen (Eds.), Policing:

A view from the street. Santa Monica, CA: Goodyear.

Vollum, S., & Adkinson, C. D. (2003). The portrayal of crime and justice in the comic book

Superhero Mythos. Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture, 10(2), 96-108.


1. In preparing for criminal trial, police are frequently interviewed and rehearsed

by prosecutors. Words, phrases, and recollections that might lead to

troublesome cross-examination are excised, and other terminologies more

favorable to the prosecution are substituted. Potential police witnesses are

warned about inconsistencies and incongruities in their testimony and reports.

In the end, the actual content of the officer's sworn testimony may be

substantially changed from his or her original recollection. Is this practice

legal? Is this ethical? When does the rehearsal and preparation of a witness so

substantially change the way an incident is portrayed that it becomes perjury?

2. It is common practice in narcotics units to cultivate informants, usually drug

dealers or drug users. Information these informants provide to the police

may result in the arrest of other dealers or users. Virtual immunity is often

granted to those who cooperate with the police. Where are the ethical lines to

be drawn in this arrangement?

3. Street justice is a term frequently employed by the police to justify the use

of physical force against suspects. Street justice is seen as a symbol, a

warning, a caution to others that both enhances social control and in some

instances protects the police from potential acts of violence. Frequently,

these beatings are "legal" in the sense that a narrow legal justification may

exist for the incident. Is being legal a sufficient justification? Are such

beatings ethical?

4. Should police in slave-holding states have enforced slave codes that required

them to track down and return runaway slaves? Should police in Nazi

Germany have enforced laws displacing and confiscating the property of

Jews? Should police enforce laws they know to be unjust and immoral just

because they are the law?

126 CHAPTER 7 Police ethics, legal proselytism, and the social order

5. Do all police officers, regardless of their worldview, have an ethical

obligation to report the corruption, brutality, and misconduct of other police

officers? If a police officer does not report such illegal conduct, is there any

real difference between that officer and other criminals?

Case Study 7-1 Homegrown Terrorism

"I don't know why you're hassling us. It's his kind that flew that plane into the World Trade

Center and killed real Americans! Who knows what he and his friends were planning to do

next?" the 16-year-old boy protests.

"Yeah, my Daddy says they won't rest until all Americans are dead, and besides, they

worship the devil!" his 15-year-old sidekick adds.

You look at your patrol partner, Mary Bivins, before responding to the two youths you

have just arrested for assault and vandalism. After a deep breath, you return your gaze

directly to the youths.

"You two brave patriots beat up a seventy-five-year-old American citizen and tried to

burn his house down. Mr. Hafiz and his wife have lived in this neighborhood for the last

twenty years. In fact, one of his sons is a police officer over in the twelfth precinct, and

he has another son who works as a fireman up in Albany. You two boys are in a whole lot

of trouble."

Mrs. Unger, the 15-year-old's mother, brings coffee into the living room where the two

boys, their parents, and the two police officers are sitting.

"How is Mr. Hafiz?" she inquires.

Officer Bivins's response is to the point. "He has a concussion and two broken ribs-"

Mr. Evans, the 16-year-old's father, interrupts Officer Bivins impatiently: "C'mon, officers!

They were just being rambunctious teenagers who got carried away. I'll make sure they

apologize to the Hafiz family, and we and the Ungers will see that their house is repaired.

Who knows where kids get the crazy ideas they have these days? They didn't mean no serious


Putting the coffee cup down, you look at the Evans and Unger families.

"I can't say what your sons' intentions were or where they got the idea to do what they

did. The fact is, they committed a serious assault and caused extensive property damage.

Officer Bivins and I will have to take them to the juvenile detention center. You can try to

arrange to have them released to your custody tomorrow until the court hearing."

You and your partner ride in silence on the way back from the detention center. Finally

Mary speaks: "I can't believe those parents, especially Mr. Evans."

"Yeah," you respond, "I'm not so sure they shouldn't have been arrested as well."


1. What are the ways that parents can instill, even if unintentionally, racial, ethnic, or religious

prejudice in their children?

2. Is it difficult to maintain an unbiased perspective and sense of balance when acts of terrorism

result in the loss of innocent lives? Should the police and/or the courts take this

into consideration under circumstances like the one outlined in the case study?

3. How can schools, police, and other social and government institutions educate and help

prevent such acts against people of different ethnic or racial backgrounds?

4. What would be a just outcome to this case?

From Braswell, Miller, and Pollock (2006). Reprinted with permission.

References 127


"You folks need to settle your differences and get along," Sergeant Waddell

mumbles as he leaves the apartment with you trailing behind him. The sergeant,

a 30-year veteran, switches on the ignition of the cruiser and continues, halftalking

to you and half-talking to himself.

"I don't know what the world's coming to! Two men living together like that. It

just ain't natural. It's tough enough dealing with the Saturday night husband-andwife

drunks without having to try and calm down the likes of them. They like to

call themselves gay, but from the looks of that smaller one, it don't look like he

was having too gay of a time! Looked like the bigger feller whipped up on him.

Besides, with him being thin like that, I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't have

AIDS. I'll tell you one thing. I was glad to get out of there. Who knows what kind

of germs were in their apartment?" Lighting a cigarette, he turns to you. "I bet they

didn't teach you how to deal with those kind of people in college."

You pause before you respond, not wanting to offend the sergeant, who is also

your training officer. "We were taught that it would be difficult and challenging

when dealing with the homosexual community, because of AIDS and our own

biases and prejudices, as well as a lot of myths that are going around."

"Myths, my ass," Sergeant Waddell interrupts. "That AIDS disease will kill you

stone-cold dead. I don't trust the government. You can't tell me you can't catch

that stuff from mosquitos either. Who knows how you can catch it? All I know

is I want to wash my hands."

"Well, I would agree that there are a lot of questions," you reply. "But our

professors always reminded us that every citizen was entitled to equal opportunity

under the law, regardless of their sexual preferences. I was taught that I was to treat

them professionally, just as in any domestic disturbance. It seems to me that we

should have done something besides just telling them to quiet down and

get along with each other. I mean, we should have arrested the big guy just like

we would have done if it was a spousal abuse case."

Turning into McDonalds, the sergeant turns once more to you, "Simpson,

you're a good kid and I believe you will make a fine officer. But you need to

remember that the classroom is one thing and the real world is another. I don't hate

those kind of people, but they made their own bed and now they'll have to lie in it.

I don't know what else we could have done. They weren't married and, even if

they were, I don't believe it's legal in this state. We couldn't take the little guy

to a spousal abuse shelter, they'd laugh their asses off at us. And I don't think that

domestic violence law covers people like that anyway. Why don't you go order us

a couple of black coffees to go while I wash my hands?"

Waiting for the coffee, you reflect on Waddell's words. He is a respected veteran

police officer and you understand his uneasiness. You felt it, too. You also

remember the look of fear and helplessness on the face of the battered guy, Eddie,

who called the police. One part of you wanted to go back and check on him and do

128 CHAPTER 7 Police ethics, legal proselytism, and the social order

something, even if it meant arresting the other guy for domestic violence. Another

part of you wanted to stay on Sergeant Waddell's good side. After all, he is your

training officer. What are you going to do?


1. What police ethics might this new recruit be torn between? Explain.

2. How might a department with stricter objectives or codes of conduct have

influenced the behavior of the officers? Explain.

3. Address this case from the three ethical models of utilitarianism, deontology,

and peacemaking. Which perspective do you feel would be most helpful in

this instance? Why?

4. Research the local laws of your area and report back to the class. Are

homosexual relationships covered by the local laws in your area? How might

this information affect the officers' behavior?

Reprinted by permission of Waveland Press, Inc., from Larry S. Miller and Michael Braswell, Human Relations and

Police Work, 6th ed. (Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc., 2006). All rights reserved.

Ethics and

the courts

A man can only do what he can do. But if he does that each day, he can

sleep at night and do it again the next day.

-Albert Schweitzer

It has been argued that although our criminal justice system is not perfect, it

does yield a kind of "rough justice." No one is guilty of exactly the crime for

which they are convicted, and no one receives exactly the penalty they

deserve, but the majority of people do receive a disposition that approximates


This view is probably accurate, but it is also somewhat troubling. Though it

is an eminently pragmatic approach, one may question the extent to which

justice can be "approximated." One can also question the process by which

this approximation is achieved. When defense attorneys and prosecutors

130 SECTION III Ethics and the courts

struggle against each other in the adversary process, is truth the likely

outcome or just a lucky possibility? Is the process any more agreeable when

there is little real argument, just a negotiation over charge and sentence


This is hardly the process one would design to find the right punishment to

fit the crime or the criminal. But in whose hands should such decisions be

placed? The legislature can attempt to ensure greater consistency through

determinate sentencing, but such efforts often result in higher penalties than

judicial discretion would yield. And in this period of prison overcrowding,

what is the correct use of incarceration? One is forced to juxtapose a moral

obligation to minimize prison costs that serve to shortchange state health,

education, and welfare programs against an equally important obligation to

protect the community from crime.

The decisions that defense attorneys, prosecutors, judges, and legislators

must make are difficult ones, requiring a balancing of sound ethical

judgments with the pragmatic realities of their positions. To assist their

students in dealing with these problems, law schools provide instruction in

professional ethics. This is normally achieved by requiring students to

complete a course that addresses the practicing attorney's obligations to the

client, to the bar, and to the court. Questions have been raised, however,

about the utility of requiring a single isolated ethics course, as opposed to

integrating a concern for ethics into the general curriculum. Although the

former provides more intense and focused study, the latter encourages the

incorporation of ethical concerns into every aspect of law. This incorporation

may be a more effective means of instilling high standards, because many

ethical dilemmas seem to be a direct result of the conflicting obligations

inherent in the practice of law.




Customer: replied 5 years ago.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.


OK, great!Smile

Thanks so much! DXJ


I bet you saw a lot of parallels in my dilemma for this assignment and many scenarios in criminal justice:-)

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes, and thank you so much for always coming through on time and on point!

You're welcome!


I told you the situation was parallel!

I worked in that field for more than 8 years!

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Week 2 assignment:

  • Complete the blank Ethical Dilemma Worksheet located in the course materials forum.
  • Use the Law Enforcement Scenario, located on the student website.
  • Review the Ethical Dilemma Worksheet sample located on your student website and posted to the course materials forum.
  • Use the blank Ethical Dilemma Worksheet located in the course materials forum. Do not use the one located on your student web site.

Blank Ethical Dilemma worksheet Below:



University of Phoenix Material


Ethical Dilemma Worksheet


Incident Review


  • 1. What is the ethical issue or problem? Identify the issue succinctly.






  • 2. What are the most important facts? Which facts have the most bearing on the ethical decision presented? Include any important potential economic, social, or political pressures, and exclude inconsequential facts.







  • 3. Identify each claimant (key actor) who has an interest in the outcome of this ethical issue. From the perspective of the moral agent-the individual contemplating an ethical course of action-what obligation is owed to the claimant? Why?


(key actor)

Obligation (owed to the claimant)

Perspective (What does the claimant hope will happen?)



























Evaluating Alternatives


  • 4. What are two alternatives for the scenario? One alternative can be a wild card that you ordinarily may not consider an option because of potential implications. Both should be within free will and control of the same moral agent.

Alternative A

Alternative B



  • 5. Respond to the following questions based on your developed alternatives.

Alternative A

Alternative B

What are the best- and worst-case scenarios if you choose this alternative?







Will anyone be harmed if this alternative is chosen? If so, how will they be harmed? Consider families and derivative effects.







Would honoring an idea or value-such as personal, professional, or religious-make the alternative invalid?








Are there any rules, laws, or principles that support the alternative? Are there rules, laws, or principles that make the alternative invalid? State the rule or principle and indicate if it invalidates or supports the alternative.










Applying Ethical Guidelines


  • 6. Consider each ethical guideline and explain whether it would support or reject your alternative.

Guidelines based on the action itself

Alternative A

Alternative B

Should this alternative become a rule or policy that everyone in this situation should follow in similar situations in the future? (Kant)



Does this alternative result in using any person as a means to an end without consideration for his or her basic integrity? (Kant)



Is the intent of this action free from vested interest or ulterior motive? (Kant's good will)



Does this alternative demonstrate a genuine concern for others affected by the decision, and is the moral agency responding to a perceived need?



Guidelines based on consequences

Alternative A

Alternative B

Is the good that results from this alternative outweighed by the potential harm that might be done to others? (Mill's harm principle)



Is any harm brought about by anyone other than the moral agent? (causal harm)




Will anyone be harmed who can be said to be defenseless? (paternalism)




To what degree is this alternative based on the moral agent's own best interest? (ethical egoism)



Which alternative will generate the greatest benefit-or the least amount of harm-for the greatest number of people? Select only one alternative. (utilitarianism)




Ethical Decision Making


  • 7. Choose to proceed with either Alternative A or Alternative B and explain the reasons for your decision.










Law Enforcement Scenario Below:



University of Phoenix Material


Law Enforcement Scenario


Ethical Issue: Law Enforcement

Officer Nixon, a 20-year veteran, and Officer Rook, who has been on the force for less than a year, respond to a reported domestic violence call. When they get there, they observe a man staggering up the walkway to the residence. He drops something and bends down to pick it up. The officers notice that the man is holding what appears to be a set of car keys. They see him put the item in his pocket before he reaches the front door. As the officers park their vehicle, the man opens the door and enters the residence.


The two officers exit their vehicle and approach the front door. The only car on the street is a blue station wagon. Officer Nixon touches the hood of the station wagon and discovers it is still warm to the touch. Before they reach the door, a woman opens it and greets them. She tells the police that she called them because she and her husband had a verbal argument, and when her husband left the house, she started to worry about him. Now that he is home, she states, she no longer needs their services. She denies being hit-despite the dispatcher's indications to the contrary. No injuries are visible.


The husband joins his wife at the door, and the police ask him some questions to corroborate his wife's story. The police notice that he is slurring his words and has other objective symptoms of intoxication. They ask the man if he had been driving. The husband and wife exchange nervous glances, and the wife says that he has not. The husband then tells the officer that he went for a walk around the block to cool off.


The couple admits that they only own one vehicle, and it is the blue station wagon parked on the street in front of the residence. The wife states that she has not driven the car all day. The husband states that he parked the car there when he returned home from work 4 hours ago. They ask him to empty his pockets. In his front pocket, there are a set of keys. He tells the officers that he put the keys in his pocket when he came home from work and he has not taken them out since.


The husband fails to perform satisfactorily when field sobriety tests are administered. A preliminary alcohol-screening device reveals that the husband's blood alcohol level is .20, twice the legal limit. In this jurisdiction, to arrest someone for a misdemeanor charge of driving while under the influence, the police must actually observe the individual driving the vehicle. If the individual is not observed driving, the conviction will be thrown out.


Based on his training and experience, Officer Nixon is convinced that the husband was driving the car immediately before they pulled up to the residence. To arrest for domestic violence, the officers must either observe an assault or the victim must have visible injuries.


What should the officers do?



The ethical Dilemma worksheet sample: Below:



University of Phoenix Material


Ethical Worksheet Sample


Incident Review


  • 1. What is the ethical issue or problem? Identify the issue succinctly.

The moral agent is a criminal defense attorney. The attorney knows of another criminal defense attorney who is an alcoholic and ignores his client obligations. What should the moral agent do?

  • 2. What are the most important facts? Which facts have the most bearing on the ethical decision presented? Include any important potential economic, social, or political pressures, and exclude inconsequential facts.

The attorney often appears in court intoxicated. He ignores his cases and does not file appropriate motions before deadlines expire. His clients, who are court-appointed, usually end up with convictions and heavy sentences due to his incompetence. In trial, he is unprepared and unprofessional. Defendants have complained. Defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges are aware of his incompetence and have done nothing. The attorney's disbarment would likely cause drastic economic consequences for the attorney. If the moral agent is responsible for his disbarment, the moral agent may face the social stigma and pressure of being labeled a snitch. With emphasis on stiffer penalties for defendants, there is political pressure to ignore the situation, as only alleged criminals are affected by his incompetence.

  • 3. Identify each claimant (key actor) who has an interest in the outcome of this ethical issue. From the perspective of the moral agent-the individual contemplating an ethical course of action-what obligation is owed to the claimant? Why?


(key actor)


(owed to the claimant)

Perspective (What does the claimant hope will happen?)

Incompetent attorney

Fidelity, beneficence

The attorney would prefer that the moral agent ignore the situation and do nothing.


Beneficence, non-injury

The clients would prefer that the moral agent help them obtain new counsel or that the attorney's incompetence was corrected.

Other criminal defense attorneys


Good defense attorneys would prefer that the incompetent attorney's behavior was corrected or that he be prevented from practicing criminal defense. Marginal defense attorneys might prefer that the moral agent does nothing, lest their own actions be called into question.

Prosecutors, judges, and bailiffs

Beneficence, non-injury

Bailiffs would prefer not to have to accommodate his unpreparedness and intoxication in the courtroom. Prosecutors and judges may prefer that the moral agent does nothing, as a more competent attorney may make their job more difficult with motions and objections. Some prosecutors and judges may prefer that the incompetent attorney's behavior was corrected or that he was prevented from practicing to avoid reversals on appeals due to his incompetence.



The advocates of law and order may prefer that the moral agent does nothing, as criminals will receive harsher sentences as a result and the process will be more streamlined. Advocates of individual rights would prefer that the incompetent attorney's behavior was corrected or that he was prevented from practicing law.


Evaluating Alternatives


  • 4. What are two alternatives for the scenario? One alternative can be a wild card that you ordinarily may not consider because of potential implications. Both should be within free will and control of the same moral agent.

Alternative A

Alternative B

Talk to the attorney and offer to help him with his cases while he seeks treatment for alcoholism.

File an official report with the agency that is responsible for appointing cases to him.

  • 5. Respond to the following questions based on your developed alternatives.

Alternative A

Alternative B

What are the best- and worst-case scenarios if you choose this alternative?

Best case: The incompetent attorney accepts the generous offer, addresses his drinking problem, changes his behavior, and thereafter represents his clients effectively.


Worst case: The attorney rejects the offer, and his incompetent behavior continues.

Best case: His behavior is corrected, or he is removed from the appointment panel.


Worst case: Little action is taken by the agency and the behavior continues. The moral agent is labeled a snitch.

Will anyone be harmed if this alternative is chosen? If so, how will they be harmed? Consider families and derivative effects.

The moral agent may be harmed by the financial consequences of agreeing to help the incompetent attorney if the moral agent is not provided with monetary compensation for the work performed. The moral agent may be harmed by potential backlash if the offer is rejected and if the agent encounters the incompetent attorney in future professional dealings.

The attorney may be harmed if removed from the panel and he does not have other opportunities to generate revenue. If he has a family, the family could be harmed as a result of the loss of income. The moral agent's reputation may be harmed by the negative label. The panel may be harmed by the loss of one of its attorneys.


Would honoring any idea or value-such as personal, professional, or religious-make the alternative invalid?

Perhaps family values would be compromised if the time constraints from assisting the attorney result in the moral agent's decreased ability to take care of family obligations, including spending time with them.

The value of loyalty to fellow criminal defense attorneys is called into question.

Are there any rules, laws, or principles that support the alternative? Are there rules, laws, or principles that make the alternative invalid? State the rule or principle and indicate if it invalidates or supports the alternative.

Standard 4-1.2(d) states: The defense counsel should seek to reform and improve the administration of criminal justice. When inadequacies or injustices in the substantive or procedural law come to the defense counsel's attention, he or she should stimulate efforts for remedial action.


This ethical rule supports the alternative.

Standard 4-1.2(d) states: The defense counsel should seek to reform and improve the administration of criminal justice. When inadequacies or injustices in the substantive or procedural law come to the defense counsel's attention, he or she should stimulate efforts for remedial action.


This ethical rule supports the alternative.


Applying Ethical Guidelines

6. Consider each ethical guideline and explain whether it would support or reject your alternative.

Guidelines based on the action itself

Alternative A

Alternative B

Should this alternative become a rule or policy that everyone in this situation should follow in similar situations in the future? (Kant)



Does this alternative result in using any person as a means to an end without consideration for his or her basic integrity? (Kant)



Is the intent of this action free from vested interest or ulterior motive? (Kant's good will)



Does this alternative demonstrate a genuine concern for others affected by the decision, and is the moral agency responding to a perceived need?

Yes: concern for others and responding to a perceived need are implicated

Yes: concern for others and responding to a perceived need are implicated

Guidelines based on consequences

Alternative A

Alternative B

Is the good brought about by this alternative outweighed by the potential harm that might be done to others? (Mill's harm principle)



Is any harm brought about by anyone other than the moral agent? (causal harm)


Yes: the decision of panel

Will anyone be harmed who can be said to be defenseless? (paternalism)

Maybe: the moral agent's family

Maybe: incompetent attorney's family

To what degree is this alternative based on the moral agent's own best interest? (ethical egoism)

Not based on the moral agent's own interests; based on the best interests of the state bar association

Not based on the moral agent's own interests; based on the best interests of the state bar association

Which alternative will generate the greatest benefit-or the least amount of harm-for the greatest number of people? Select only one alternative. (utilitarianism)


Alternative B will generate the greatest benefit.


Ethical Decision Making


  • 6. Choose to proceed with either Alternative A or Alternative B and explain the reasons for your decision.

I recommend that the moral agent report this conduct to the appointment panel. This would help correct his behavior, which affects his appointed cases and those who retain him. These people would have civil recourse and the ability to hire another attorney. It would not necessitate extra work hours for the moral agent, which may negatively affect the moral agent's family. If the behavior continues, then the moral agent could follow up by reporting the behavior to the state bar association. The label of snitch might be possible to avoid, especially if the moral agent's name is kept anonymous during the disciplinary proceedings. If it is not possible to avoid, any negative consequences from this label would be offset by those who appreciated and respected the moral agent's actions.


Do you have the student (blank) worksheet for this?

When do you need this?

Attachments are only available to registered users.

Register Here

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The blank one was the first one I posted after the assignment details! right? Due Thurs.

OK, It just doesn't have the formatting.

Thanks! DXJ

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Wait I will check to see if there is another one we can used? I may not have answer for you until tomorrow night though!

Still working through this...........

Related Homework Questions