Posted: June 26th, 2021
Reply must be at least 200-300 words. For each thread, you must support your assertions with at least 2 citations from sources such as your textbook, peer-reviewed journal articles, and the Bible.
Textbook: Vito, G. F., & Higgins, G. E. (2015). Practical program evaluation for criminal justice. Waltham, MA: Elsevier. ISBN: 9781455777709.
Ethics play a critical role in the practice and research of criminal justice. Criminal justice is about safety and ensuring individual rights at the same time. It is incumbent upon those that practice criminal justice and conduct criminal justice research, to do no harm. When it comes to research, ethical concerns are paramount. The moral process in research is based on the law and principles outlined in the Belmont Report. The three main principles of the report are respect for persons, beneficence, and justice. Respect for persons means that those in the study or research do so of their own free will. Beneficence means that the research does no harm to the participants and seeks to do good. Justice implies that research’s benefits and burdens are fairly distributed (Maxfield & Babbie, 2018). According to Vito and Higgins (2015), ethics covers both how the research is done and the researcher’s actions. Research and the application of programs should be based on science and fact, not emotion and assumptions. The Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study, Court Volunteers, and Scared Straight are examples of presumption of good that were wrong (McCord, 2003).
The concept of not causing harm and being personally neutral in judgment, a cornerstone of research and criminal justice is well documented in the Bible.
You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness, you shall judge your neighbor. You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor; I am the Lord. (New King James Version, 1982, Leviticus 19:15-16)
Leviticus clarifies that those involved in criminal justice research should have no preconceived notions about individuals or subjects and that having such ideas would be an injustice. Indeed, Nehemiah makes the point that folks who need to be helped have already suffered and that those entrusted to help them should not add to their burden or add hardship to them.
Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children; and indeed, we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have been brought into slavery. It is not in our power to redeem them, for other men have our lands and vineyards. And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers and said to them, “Each of you is exacting usury from his brother.” So, I called a great assembly against them. (New King James Version, 1982, Nehemiah 5:5-7).
Indeed, even the officer on the street is bound by these conditions of not doing more harm. The concepts highlighted in the Bible can be seen through Supreme Court decisions such as Tennessee v. Garner when the Court ruled that deadly force can only be used if the officer making the arrest faces the threat of death or serious bodily injury (Tennessee v. Garner, 1985). In Graham v. Connor, the Court said that in any arrest, the force used must only be the amount necessary to make that arrest (Graham v. Connor, 1989). In both these cases, it is obvious the Court is following a Christian View in telling police that they cannot add to the harm and only do what is necessary to make an arrest. Whether practitioners or researchers do not harm is a required and ethical standard.
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