Models of Ethical Reasoning in the Criminal Justice System

Models of Ethical Reasoningin the Criminal Justice System

Applied Criminal Justice Ethics – CJ340-01


The Ethics of Virtue History of the Ethics of VirtueTenets of the Ethics of VirtueReal world example of the ethics of virtueEthical Formalism (Deontological Ethics)History of Ethical FormalismModel of Ethical FormalismReal world application of Deontological ethicsConsequentialism (Teleological Ethics)

10. History of Consequentialism11. Model of Consequentialism12. Real world example of Utilitarianism13. Ethics of Care (Restorative Justice)14. History of the Ethics of Care15. Tenets of the Ethics of Care16. Real world example of the Ethics of Care17. Where does the concept of Noble Cause corruption fits within the ethical models?18. Summary

The Ethics of Virtue

The Ethics of VirtuePlaces emphasis on moral character

DeontologyEmphasizes duties or rules

ConsequentialismEmphasizes the consequences of actions

Three major approaches in normative ethics

(Hursthouse & Pettigrove, 2016)

History of the Ethics of Virtue

Early interpretation of virtue ethics was based on the concept of eudaimonia, an ancient Greek word that moral philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle said means “happiness,” “flourishing,” or referring to an individual’s “well-being.” To truly have a happy, good, and harmonious life (eudaimonia,) one must live a virtuous life.Agent-Based Exemplarist Virtue EthicsTarget-Centered Virtue EthicsPlatonistic Virtue Ethics

(, 2017)

Tenets of the Ethics of Virtue


GenerosityFidelity Self-care Prudence

Real World Example of the Ethics of Virtue

Dr. Alfred S. Titus, Jr.

AuthorProfessor Retired NYPD Homicide Detective Hostage NegotiatorSpeakerLecturerConsultant

(Titus, 2018)

Ethical Formalism (Deontological Ethics)

Deontology is an ethical theory that uses universal moral rules to distinguish right from wrong.Often associated with philosopher Immanuel KantThe only requirement is that people follow the rules and do their duty.Actions are not justified by their consequences but rather factors other than good outcomes determine the “rightness” of actions.

History of Ethical Formalism

In 1785, the German philosopher Immanuel Kant is credited with developing the Deontological ethics approach in his work entitled “Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals.” Very similar to the “Golden Rule” of Christianity, Judaism, and other religions (“do unto others as you would have them do unto you”)

Model of Ethical Formalism

Real World Application of Deontological Ethics

Consequentialism/Utilitarianism/Teleological Ethics

Emphasizes the consequences of your behavior, not whether your actions were inherently good or bad. It doesn’t matter how you produce the results as long as the desired outcome occurs.A very controversial approach due to non-consequentialist scholars who believe that one should fulfill their duties, respect the rights of others, obey nature, obey God, obey one’s own heart, actualize their own potential, be reasonable, respect all people, and not interfere with others no matter the consequences.

(Haines, 2015)

In 1789, Jeremy Bentham wrote his article entitled “An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation”In 1861, John Stuart Mill wrote a book entitled “Utilitarianism”

History of Consequentialism/Utilitarianism

Model of Consequentialism/Utilitarianism


Act UtilitarianismThe ethical merit of an act is judgedby the immediate and direct consequences of the action

Rule UtilitarianismThe ethical merit of an act is judged interms of what the consequences of theaction would be if such conduct became the general rule and everyone acted accordingly.

Real World Example of Utilitarianism

Ethics of Care (Restorative Justice)

Restorative Justice




(Montellanos, 2016)

Sometimes called “ethics of love” or “relational ethics”

History of the Ethics of Care

The works of psychologist Carol Gilligan and philosopher Nel Noddings in the mid-1960s are attributed with care ethics as a distinct moral theoryAuthor Milton Mayeroff’s book entitled On Caring” which was released in1990 is credited with being one of the first known works about the Ethics of Care

(Burton & Dunn, 2017)(, 2014)

Tenets of the Ethics of Care

Building and cultivating strong relationshipsImportance of the family relationshipTaking care of a person’s needs rather than punishing themAcknowledging gender differences and rolesEmotion-based virtues such as benevolence, mercy, care, friendship, reconciliation, and sensitivity

(, 2017)

Real World Example of the Ethics of Care

(, 2017)(, 2018)

Where Does the Concept of Noble Cause Corruption Fit Within the Ethical Models?

(Bayley, 2010)

Does the end trulyjustify the means?


We briefly discussed the following models of ethical reasoning:The Ethics of VirtueDeontological EthicsConsequentialism/Utilitarianism EthicsThe Ethics of Care/Restorative JusticeNoble Cause Corruption


Bayley, B. (2010, February 12). Noble cause corruption: Do the ends justify the means? Retrieved January 9, 2019, from, Jeremy (J. H. Burns and H. L. A. Hart, eds.). An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation [1789]. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.Burton, B. K., & Dunn, C. P. (2017, June 19). Ethics of care. Retrieved January 8, 2019, from, W. (2015, August). Consequentialism. Retrieved January 7, 2019, from Hursthouse, R., & Pettigrove, G. (2016, December 08). Virtue Ethics. Retrieved January 6, 2019, from, John Stuart (Roger Crisp, ed.), Utilitarianism [1861]. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.Montellanos, A. (2016, Summer). Care in Restorative Justice. Retrieved January 8, 2019, from, A. S. (2018). The personal side of policing. Middletown, DE.Care Ethics. (2014, September). Retrieved January 9, 2019, from of care. (2017, August 15). Retrieved January 9, 2019, from Justice Programs. (2018). Retrieved January 9, 2019, from Ethics. (2017). Retrieved January 6, 2019, from