1st Edition

Ethics for Criminal Justice Professionals

By Cliff Roberson, Scott Mire Copyright 2009
    296 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Increasing concerns about the accountability of criminal justice professionals at all levels has placed a heightened focus on the behavior of those who work in the system. Judges, attorneys, police, and prison employees are all under increased scrutiny from the public and the media. Ethics for Criminal Justice Professionals examines the myriad of ethical issues that confront law enforcement, judicial system, and correctional personnel. Easy to read, practical, and filled with real-life scenarios, this comprehensive volume sheds light on an often complicated and controversial topic.

    The book begins by defining the subject matter, explaining what ethics is, and what it is not. It explores the concept of false moral identity, examines difficult decisions that arise from attorney-client privilege, and discusses problematic issues such as officer gratuities. Next, the book provides a historical review of the concept of ethical reasoning, examining different religious and cultural influences and exploring ethics from various schools of philosophy.

    Ethics and police officers

    The authors discuss management and corruption, the causes and effects of abuse of authority, police perjury, and the practice of lying to obtain a confession. They explore the role of prejudice and discrimination in unethical behavior and review legislation designed to curb such practices.

    Ethics in the courtroom

    Shifting to issues that arise in the courtroom, the book addresses prosecutorial and judicial misconduct, discovery violations, the presentation of inadmissible evidence, discretion to prosecute, and defense counsel ethics.

    Ethics in the prison system

    Finally, the book explores issues that arise with respect to correction. The authors examine the four purposes of punishment: retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation, as well as the death penalty and methods of execution.

    Each chapter ends with a set of review questions to test comprehension and a series of exercises further clarifies the material. Interspersed with the content are real-life vignettes that help to ground the theoretical concepts in practice and actual court cases that illustrate the principles. Ample references are provided to inspire further study of issues for which often there are no easy answers.

    What Is Ethics?

    Historical Development of Ethical Reasoning

    Understanding Ethics

    Ethical Schools

    Unethical Themes in Criminal Justice

    Abuse of Authority and Power

    Lying and Deception

    Prejudice and Discrimination

    Ethics and the Present Criminal Justice System

    Ethics and Criminal Prosecutions

    Ethics and the Police

    Ethics and Corrections

    Ethical Issues Involving Victims’ Services



    Cliff Roberson is the academic chair of the Graduate School of Criminal Justice at Kaplan University and editor in chief of the journal Professional Issues in Criminal Justice. He is also an emeritus professor of criminal justice at Washburn University and a retired professor of criminology at California State University, Fresno. His previous academic experience includes professor of criminology and director of the Justice Center, California State University, Fresno; professor of criminal justice and dean of arts and sciences at the University of Houston–Victoria; associate vice president for academic affairs, Arkansas Tech University; and director of programs for the National College of District Attorneys, University of Houston.

    In 2009, a research study conducted by a group of professors from Sam Houston State University determined that Cliff Roberson was the leading criminal justice author in the United States based upon on his publications and their relevance to the profession. 
    —Southwest Journal of Criminal Justice, Vol.6, issue 1, 2009

    Scott Mire is an assistant professor of criminal justice at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He is a former police officer, narcotics agent, and U.S. federal agent. Scott also served as training coordinator for the Texas Police Corps while completing his graduate studies. Scott has published numerous articles in various journals, including the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation and the Journal Criminal Justice.