Ethics in Criminal Justice: Criminal JusticeEssay

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¶ … inmates with mental illness when state hospitals close?

Since the 1960s, states have been part of a trend to close state mental hospitals and substitute the same with community mental health centers that most people thought would serve the needs of the mentally ill better. The results have, however, been far from positive -- community facilities have become overcrowded, and have, owing to shrinking budgetary allocations, been forced to increase their costs of treatment (Glazer, 2015). As a result, most mentally ill persons are unable to access mental care services at these facilities; and the situation is even worse for those who are driven to commit petty crimes by their combination of homelessness, drug use and mental illness as they find themselves locked up in jails and prisons, which are not properly-equipped to deal with mental health cases (Glazer, 2015). The best that prison facilities can do is place such casualties under solitary confinement, where they are kept chained and under inhumane conditions so they are in no position to cause harm to themselves and others (Glazer, 2015). Due to the lack of adequate mental care in the prison system, the mental condition of such casualties worsens, often ending up in suicide or large-scale losses to the facility. Even for those who are lucky to receive treatment, the risk of relapse is relatively high due to the inadequacy of the prison environment in offering recovery support.

2. List three ways that correctional personnel can ethically and effectively manage mentally ill inmates as outlined by McCullough

McCullough proposes three ways through which correctional personnel can manage mentally ill inmates in the community setting -- probation, parole, and intermediate sanctions. His proposition is based on the setting principle, which suggests that care services to mentally ill offenders are not as effective in prison as they are in the community setting. Probation is an alternative to incarceration, where the inmate is made to serve their sentence under the supervision of probation counselors and probation officers in the community, the former of whom are concerned with case management and mental health counseling. Alternatively, correctional personnel could opt for parole, where a mentally ill inmate's sentence of imprisonment is reduced based on the indeterminate sentencing statutes operational at the federal or the state level. Finally, correctional personnel could consider intermediate sanctions, where the inmate is placed under supervision in the community, but is at the same time assigned sanctions in the form of community services such as planting gardens, painting houses, cleaning playgrounds and so on to keep them occupied.

3. Name 3 of the 9 policies of the Prison Rape Elimination act of 2003

The Prison Rape Elimination Act (2003) prohibits the instigation of sexual misconduct against offenders both in the prison system and in correctional facilities (OJJDP, 2003). It advances nine fundamental policies, three of which are listed below:

i) The zero-tolerance policy -- to create a zero-tolerance standard for rape in the American prison and correctional system

ii) The information-availability policy -- to ensure that data on the prevalence of rape in prisons and correctional facilities is readily available and is presented accurately for use by management and facility administrators

iii) The accountability policy -- to increase the accountability standards for prison officials who fail to punish, reduce, prevent, or even detect rape in prison and correctional facilities

4. What are some of the comprehensive approaches to dealing with sexual offenders? Would you react any differently when dealing with sexual offenders compared to violent offenders?

The comprehensive approach to sex offender management deals not only with the investigation, adjudication and sentencing of offenders, but their treatment and supervision as well. Basically, therefore, comprehensive approaches are concerned with the aspect of offender reintegration just as much as they are with that of punishment. They include i) the cognitive-behavioral approach, which is concerned with changing the thinking patterns of sexual offenders and their deviant sexual behavior patterns; ii) the psycho-educational approach, which deals with teaching offenders to take responsibility for their deviant acts and increasing their empathy for the offended; and iii) the pharmacological approach, where medication is used to reduce the offender's sexual response, thereby minimizing their likelihood of committing future sex offences.

I believe sexual offenders ought to be treated differently from violent offenders in the justice system. I, personally, would handle them differently because these are people who consider the sex of their victims weaker than their own, and who take advantage of that to deny them (the victims) their freedoms and liberties (sexism). Towards this end, I would integrate lessons on appreciating the opposite sex into their treatment and supervision program; the same would, however, not be necessary in the case of a violent offender.

5. In Best Intentions, should Andrew be disciplined? If so, what should his punishment be?

Andrews, the prosecutor ought to be punished for withholding exculpatory evidence (evidence that would otherwise have proven the guilt of the defendant, Don Chart). The Brady Rule imposes upon prosecutors a duty to disclose to the defendant's attorneys any piece of information that proves the innocence of the defendant. By failing to disclose the existence of the blood-stained bandanna and a statement by the defendant's mother-in-law that the victim's three-year-old son, who had witnessed the victim's murder, had described the killer as 'a monster', the prosecutor openly violated the Brady Rule. He argues that he did not believe that the information was at the time exculpatory, but this in my view, was not for him to decide. The decision of whether or not the information thereof was material was supposed to be made by the defense attorneys, not the prosecutor. For this reason, Andrews ought to be punished -- he should give monetary compensation to the defendant since the mistake was committed in his previous position, which has no connection to his current position.

6. How do Supreme Court decisions impact the criminal justice system from an ethical standpoint?

Supreme Court decisions add credibility to the criminal justice system. Landmark decisions such as that witnessed in the case of Brady v. Maryland have transformed the ethical standing of the justice system. Without this ruling, we would have millions of people wrongfully locked up and punished unfairly for crimes that they did not commit; all because a prosecutor somewhere was out to build a reputation for himself. Another landmark ruling was witnessed in the case of Tennessee v. Garner, where the Court invalidated all state provisions allowing police officers to shoot at feeing felons because such shooting took away the right for the defendant to defend himself and have a fair listening in court.

7. What thing in your life has caused you to struggle with right or wrong? What battle of ethics per say has made you who you are today?

The one thing in my life that has made me struggle with right or wrong is peer pressure. I am a very sociable person, and as such, I have a whole lot of friends from diverse backgrounds. I value my friends, and love to compromise just so they would feel valued and appreciated. At times, the line is crossed, and in my attempt to compromise, I find myself facing ethical dilemmas on whether something is really right or wrong. For instance, I have a friend who believes that in as much as killing someone is wrong, doing it for the sake of saving or defending one's religion is acceptable. Whenever I give them audience, I always find it difficult to determine exactly where taking a life stops being wrong and starts being right -- is it is acceptable to kill in self-defense, is it also acceptable to kill in defense of religion? All the same, religion has been my primary source of ethics -- my beliefs are rooted in religious values and what religion advocates for; I would, therefore, rightly say that religion dictates my sense of right and wrong, and is the fundamental source of the ethical values and beliefs that I hold today.

8. How do you see ethics tying into your life?

Well, the concept of ethics may not be as relevant now as it will be in the near future when as a professional, I will be required to serve the American people ethically amidst increasingly tough ethical dilemmas. My personal ethical beliefs and my profession's code of ethics will be crucial in helping me distinguish between right and wrong, and consequently, make effective and ethical decisions in my career as a professional in the criminal justice system.

9. What are you doing in your life to enhance your ethical beliefs?

One's ethical beliefs change as they move through different phases and encounter new things in life. There is need for one to enhance their ethical beliefs to ensure that they remain in line with the ethical standards required by their profession. In order to enhance my ethical beliefs, I am taking steps to increase my understanding of how ethics differs based on… [END OF PREVIEW]

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