New Solution to Ethics in Criminal Justice

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Ethical situation

Corruption in the criminal justice system has been a thorn in the flesh for many governments.  The judicial institutions are very corrupt and this has been reported in many nations including the US (Nyamu-Musembi, 2007). Today, many judicial officials are bribed to influence certain cases. Similarly, there is a lot of political interference taking place that influences the decision that judges make. Corruption in the criminal justice is not only taking place among the judicial officials, but also by other players. For instance, the law enforcement agents are involved in corruption that interferes with proper investigation and prosecution of cases. Because of that, many cases are thrown out due to lack of evidence. Through this, the accused and the agent of criminal justice system benefits making it a criminal issue.

Corruption is an ethical issue in the criminal justice because the law enforcement officers or agents of the criminal justice system are also looking for ways to survive. The world has become a corruption zone and this makes everyone who is capable of receiving a bribe to take it. Most agents in the criminal justice system works in hardship and the condition they work in is sometimes unbearable and uncondusive. Thus, they take bribe or involve themselves in corruption as a reward to the difficulty they experience. Similarly, sometimes the law enforcement agencies are offered large sums of money to influence a case by either the defendant/accused or parties closed to them. The political interference is where those in the authority put pressure so that some cases do not go through in favor of the accused. As humans, it is not easy to leave an offer of large sums of money on something that will not have a direct implication on you. Because of this assumption, law enforcement agents in criminal justice have continuously been engaged in corruption since sometimes they receive money without even asking for it.

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On the other hand, the same ethical issue can be explained from the perspective of the accused. Corruption is always a two-way traffic because it involved two or more people. The accused are involved in corruption by giving bribe because they feel it less painful compared to the journey they might go through in the criminal justice system (Matei & Matei, 2011). For instance, one can easily bribe a law enforcement officer or a prosecutor with an amount of money that it less than what ought to be paid in the criminal justice system. Thus, it becomes easier for offenders or the accused to involve in corruption because it favors them by lessening the impact. This makes both the law enforcement agent and the accused to benefit. In reality, nobody can agree to proceed with a trial that may take over years to conclude when other means or ways of being off the hook are available. As long as the law enforcement agencies are willing to be involved in corruption, the accused will be on their side to escape justice.

Solution 

Several attempts have been made to minimize corruption in the criminal justice but not all have been successful because of various barriers. For instance, the current ways of minimizing corruption involves investigation of the allegations by reviewing the evidence provided. However, these investigations have not been fruitful because nobody is found capable of corruption since it is still the corrupt officials who investigate others. Therefore, the first proposal or solution to the ethical issue is to improve the material condition of the law enforcement agencies involved in the criminal justice system. Most corruption that is taking place among the criminal justice system personnel is in the form of money. It happens because these officers have a lust for money to bridge the deficit they have. Therefore, improving their welfare by adjusting their wages and introducing other incentives can be fundamental to solving the ethical issue (Matei & Matei, 2011). They will not subvert justice because of the incentives by the accused by stick to the rule of law and ethics of their profession. The strength of this solution is that it makes bribes less appealing to the law enforcement agents because they have enough (Golub, 2007). However, its weakness is that it is expensive to implement because it requires a lot of money. Similarly, money incentives might not lead to a behavioral change.

Secondly, the ethical issues can be solved through normative change in the attitude towards bribery among the law enforcement agents. Currently, little is being done to condemn those involved in bribery and this has made the vice to spread and become a culture in the criminal justice system. Training the members of the society and informing them that they should not give bribe or involve in corruption will be effective (Golub, 2007). Some people give bribery because they do not know it is unacceptable while others are influenced.  In addition, the agents involved in corruption should be dismissed from service as opposed to telling them to adhere to the code of conduct. The strength of this solution is it that involves all the stakeholders in empowerment. However, its weakness is that it might take long to change a corruption culture that has existed the stakeholders.

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  1. Golub, S. (2007). The ‘other 90 per cent’: how NGOs combat corruption in non-judicial justice systems. In TI (Transparency International), Global Corruption Report 2007. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  2. Matei, A. & Matei, L. (2011). Assessing the anti-corruption strategies. theoretical and empirical models. Journal of Management and Strategy, 2 (1), 23–40.
  3. Nyamu-Musembi, C. (2007). Gender and corruption in the administration of justice. In TI (Transparency International) Global Corruption Report 2007. New York: Cambridge University Press.
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