The African American Diaspora Views The United States And Application Of Ethics In Criminal Justice System

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The African American Diaspora views the United States and Application of Ethics in Criminal Justice System

Criminal Justice Ethics

Criminal justice ethics embraces a range of interrelated governmental functions generated by the need to secure the rights of citizens against encroachment by others. (Friedman, 4-9) Among its foundational concerns are issues in legislative ethics relating to the establishment of criminal justice policies. Although its main foci are police, judicial, and correctional ethics, criminal justice ethics also incorporates legal and prosecutorial ethics (Walker, 6-15), and it extends to ancillary areas such as witness conduct and forensic science.

Legislative issues that have important implications for criminal justice ethics include the allocation of resources (such as those of various criminal justice agencies, which have implications for the incidence of crime) (Kleinig, 64-79), policies regarding vice and other social practices that a legislature might wish to discourage, and sentencing policies (e.g., capital punishment, mandatory sentencing, hate crimes, prison privatization).

Police ethics encompasses questions' concerning the ethics of policing as well as ethics within policing; that is, it may include discussion of the foundations of police authority as well as questions concerning the legitimate exercise of police authority (Steinberg, 58-75). Within the latter, it may contemplate the shape of the police role as well as constraints that need to be observed in its exercise. In liberal democratic theory, police authority is generally construed as a branch of governmental authority, derived from the consent of the governed to institutional arrangements deemed essential to the preservation and exercise of fundamental human rights. Within that understanding, broader and narrower conceptions of the police role vie for acceptance—narrower understandings focusing on the crime-fighting role, broader understandings favoring a primarily social service or peacekeeping role (within which crime fighting is seen as a partial expression). (Friedman & Percival, 7-16)

Apart from debates about the institutional role of the police, the central problems of police ethics have generally concerned tactics the legitimate use of deception and force—although more general questions about the limits of discretion, the boundaries of privacy, the limits of solidarity, and the ways in which police organizations manage themselves also fall within its purview. Many of the ethical problems specific to police are addressed (albeit only generally) in the codes of ethics promulgated by many police organizations (Kleinig and Zhang 1993); codes of ethics, however, do not absolve those to whom they apply from exercising the personal judgment that lies at the heart of ethical decision making.

Although life during Civil War (Blacks vs. Whites) in America was comparatively hard, a formal infrastructure to support all Africans was lacking. The Constitution Act was designed to ensure that all Africans irrespective of race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age, or mental or physical disability would be treated equally and fairly under law (Kleinig, 64-79). Since its inception, however, there has been an ongoing debate as to whether the various agencies and departments involved in the administration of justice policy actually function as a unified “system.”

For historical reasons (i.e., the fact that most criminal justice ...
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