Criminal Justice Ethics: Cultivating the moral imagination, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Criminal Justice Ethics

Cultivating the moral imagination, 1st Edition

By Sharon Hayes


198 pages | 7 B/W Illus.

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It is essential for those employed within the justice system to be able to competently and confidently work at the borders between ethics and the law. Criminal Justice Ethics offers a fresh new approach to considering ethical issues in a criminal justice context. Rather than simply offering a range of ethical dilemmas specific to various justice professionals, it provides extensive discussion of how individuals develop their 'moral imaginations' using ethical perspectives and practices, both as citizens of the world and as practitioners of justice.

Starting from a consideration of the major ethical theories, this book sets the framework for an expansive discussion of ethics by moving from theory to consider the just society and the role of the justice professional within it. Each chapter provides detailed analysis of relevant ethical issues, and activities to engage students with the content, as well as review questions, which can be used for revision or examination. This book will help students to:

  • understand the various theoretical approaches to ethics,
  • apply these understandings to issues in society and the justice process,
  • assist in developing the ability to investigate, discuss, and analyse current ethical issues in criminal justice,
  • appreciate the diverse nature of ethical systems across cultures,
  • outline strategies for detecting and resolving ethical dilemmas.

Rich with examples and ethical dilemmas from a broad range of contexts, this book's multicultural approach will appeal not only to criminal justice educators, but also to academics, students and practitioners approaching criminal justice from sociological, psychological or philosophical perspectives.


‘This innovative book is essential reading for anyone seeking a rich social scientific understanding of ethics in this current era.’ - Walter DeKeseredy, Anna Deane Carlson Endowed Chair of Social Sciences and Director of the Research Center on Violence at West Virginia University, USA

‘Sharon Hayes provides a fresh, new approach to teaching criminal justice ethics. Beginning with strong foundational material covering what is ethics and why we should be ethical, she then moves on to societal ethics and morality. In contrast to most ethics textbooks, it is only after giving the reader this essential baseline that she then addresses situational ethics for law enforcement, courts and corrections. In a society that frequently questions individual and group ethics, this book helps bring much needed clarity and understanding.’ - Michael B. Shapiro, J.D., Clinical Instructor and Criminal Justice Coordinator at the Alpharetta Center, Georgia State University, USA

‘Hayes’ Criminal Justice Ethics text offers instructors of Undergraduate criminal justice ethics courses the ability to provide students with a dynamic understanding of ethics by illustrating its evolution throughout humanity and how that history has informed ethical principles within the field of criminal justice.’ - Elizabeth Quinn, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Criminal Justice, Fayetteville State University, USA

'This book is essentially a text book aimed at undergraduates. It effectively marshals the foundation material and presents it in an accessible and applied form. The subject is engagingly brought to life through examples and case studies.' - Dr Jamie Bennett, Prison Service Journal

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Part I: Ethical Theory 2. What is Ethics? 3. Consequentialism 4. Non-consequentialism 5. Critical Thinking and Ethical Decision Making Part II: Ethics in Public Life 6. The Good Society 7. The Just Society 8. Balancing Law and Justice 9. Ethics, Law and Morality Part III: Ethics in the Criminal Justice System 10. Public Sector Ethics and Corruption 11. Regulating the Legal Profession 12. Ethics and Accountability in Law Enforcement 13. Ethics of Corrections and Punishment 14. Where to From Here?

About the Author


Sharon Hayes

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Learn more about Sharon Hayes >>

Sharon Hayes is Associate Professor in Justice at Queensland University of Technology where she teaches Social Ethics and the Justice System and Sex and Crime. Her background in ethics and justice spans twenty-five years, including a Masters in Philosophy from Tulane University, and a PhD in Social Philosophy from QUT. Sharon was a founding lay member of the Queensland Legal Practice Tribunal and has provided advice on public sector ethics to the Crime and Misconduct Commission. Sharon's recent research interests include sex crimes and domestic violence and her recent publications include Sex, Crime and Morality (2012, Routledge), The Politics of Sex Trafficking: A moral geography (2013, Palgrave), and Sex Love and Abuse: Discourses on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (Palgrave 2014).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology