The ethics in the criminal justice and law enforcement systems

The ethics of the criminal justice system

The ethics of the criminal justice and law enforcement agencies have been a subject of ongoing discussion. Concerns about unfairness in the operation of the criminal justice system, which includes errors made by the law enforcement and justice systems, were at the heart of the debate. Police brutality, the use of force during searches and arrests, excessive imprisonment, and unequal sentencing and prosecution practices are just a few examples of these malpractices. (Bouza, 2013). There must be action taken to restore ethics in the criminal justice and law enforcement agencies because everyone relies on them to uphold law and order and keep us safe. To restore the criminal justice and law enforcement system's ethics, there is the need to implement an integrated and open bias training for the state and local police as well as the federal law-enforcement officers. Most of the complaints are about the police and the federal law-enforcement officers because of how they deal with criminals and suspects with discrimination. The law enforcers training and practices should be rooted in the human rights principles to avoid any discrimination and to help maintain a healthy relationship and trust between the public and the justice system. Therefore, if these officers are given an explicit bias training, they will not act with biasedness while at work and this will help restore ethics in the criminal justice system.

Restoring integrity through community policing

Integrity can be restored in our criminal justice and law enforcement system by working to strengthen the credence amid the community and the police and other law enforcement agents. This can be made possible by implementing community policing whereby the police can interact freely with the people, and this makes it easier for them to get information from them about any security threats. Many law enforcement agents have been accused of being aggressive or rather using force while dealing with the public. As a result, there is no trust and confidence between them and the public. However, if the government can work on bringing the people together with the law enforcers through community policing, it can help restore ethics in the criminal justice systems. In addition, this will help preserve the integrity of the criminal justice system because the people will now start trusting the system.

Enhancing accountability and credibility in the judiciary

In order to restore ethics in the criminal justice system, the government should enhance the accountability and credibility of the judiciary. This can be executed in various ways, for instance, improving the arrest, investigating, prosecuting, and the sentencing process of offenders. According to Thusi, there have been disparities in how the justice system handles offenders (2016). Therefore, discrepancies in arrests and sentencing have been on top of the list of complaints against the criminal justice system. It is evident that there are inequalities in the sentencing policy whereby a particular group of people is favored than the other. However, if the government improves the accountability and credibility of the criminal justice system, it will help restore ethics to the system (Thusi, 2016). The criminal justice system should work on eliminating inequalities in the system by enhancing prosecutorial and sentencing integrity regardless of the race, gender and ethnicity of the offender and this will restore its ethics.

Hold law enforcers responsible for misconduct

If the police and the prosecutors are held responsible for their misconducts, it will help restore ethics and sanity in the criminal justice system. Most law enforcers engage in deliberate misconduct because they know that they will not be held responsible or rather liable for their actions (Harris & Worden, 2014). In fact, some of them commit misconducts that lead to the death of innocent people as well as the incarceration of the innocent due to the hiding of evidence or presenting fabricated/false evidence. As a result, this has questioned the ethics of the justice system because the public needs a system that apprehends everyone including the police and other law enforcers if they commit a crime. Therefore, if the system holds these officers responsible for their misconduct, the ethics of the criminal justice system will not be in question. Instead, it will be restored because the people will begin trusting the system to be fair.

Compensating the wrongly convicted

Many people have been convicted wrongly for crimes they never committed due to mistakes made by the criminal justice system. This has led to the public doubting the integrity of the system because the public expects that they should follow their rule of being proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, since the justice system can be prone to mistakes when this has happened, the exonerated should be indemnified for the time they lost while behind bars innocently (Neubauer & Fradella, 2015). Most states provide no compensation at all to the wrongly convicted, and this is questionable. Taking the obligation of making amends and by providing counseling, education, housing, and financial support to those convicted wrongly will restore ethics back to the criminal justice system. Reintegrating the exonerated by connecting them back to the outside world will help fix the problem of ethics in the judicial system (Bazemore & Schiff, 2015).

Speaking out about inequalities and injustices

While trying to restore back ethics in the justice system, it is important to acknowledge that implicit biases exist in the police departments and the society. The criminal justice system should speak out about the current inequalities and injustices in the system because it desperately needs to restore its ethics. And, this ethics will only be restored if both the public and the system speak in a unified conviction that there is the need for reform to have an equitable justice system. When this is recognized and done, it will be easier to identify where the biggest problem lies, and this will help solve the ethical issues arising in our criminal justice systems. Therefore, paying attention and speaking out about the ills of the system can be the best way to bring reform and restore ethics in the criminal justice and law enforcement systems.

Implementing policies for accountability and trust

The criminal justice and law enforcement system have faced a lot of criticism from different stakeholders on its standards while handling cases. Subsequently, people have no faith in the system, and the criminal justice system is anxious and eager to restore its integrity. To fix the system, there is the need to implement policies that will make law enforcers accountable for any misconduct. In addition, the criminal system should ensure that they make amends when they identify a mistake has been made, and reform the current prosecuting and sentencing laws. Thirdly, ethics can be restored through adequate police training whereby they cautioned about biases. Finally, the most efficient way the criminal justice system can restore its values back is encouraging community policing whereby the police can build a relationship with the people, which will bring back their trust in the system.


Bazemore, G., & Schiff, M. (2015). Restorative community justice: Repairing harm and transforming communities. London: Routledge.

Bouza, A. V. (2013). The Police Mystique: An Insider’s look at Cops, Crime, and the Criminal Justice System. NY: Springer.

Harris, C. J., & Worden, R. E. (2014). The Effect of Sanctions on Police Misconduct. Crime & Delinquency, 60(8), 1258-1288.

Neubauer, D. W., & Fradella, H. F. (2015). America's Courts and the Criminal Justice System. Boston, Massachusetts: Cengage Learning.

Thusi, I. (2016). 10 Ways to put Justice back in the Criminal Justice System. The Hill. Retrieved from the-criminal-justice-system

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