U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Teaching Criminal Justice Ethics (From Ethics in Criminal Justice, P 117-131, 1990, Frank Schmalleger, ed. -- See NCJ-121656)

NCJ Number
J M Pollock-Byrne
Date Published
15 pages
There is growing recognition in criminal justice education that ethics needs to be a part of a degree program.
The issues dealt with in a criminal justice ethics course such as justice and social control, maintaining personal integrity in the face of group pressure, and law and civil disobedience, are extremely relevant for all students. Many philosophy courses such as "Moral Issues" provide a good framework for an ethics class in criminal justice. One approach to the material for an ethics course, after an introduction to moral theories, is to follow the traditional subsystems of criminal justice as presented in most introductory texts: specifically, deal with ethical issues of police, courts, and corrections, in that order. Each of these professional fields have developed their own codes of ethics and these should be presented for classroom discussion. Themes that must be dealt with are the role of discretion in criminal justice, and how best to train personnel to be good officers, lawyers, or correctional counselors. Finally, the most problematic theme of an ethics course is moral relativism versus absolutism in moral positions. (Author abstract modified)


No download available