Balancing Issues

Balancing Issues

CRJ 180

Stayer University


Balancing Issues

A problem every individual that chooses to work in the criminal justice field will encounter is individual rights versus the public’s protection. While this decision is a difficult one, it can become necessary. Every individual wants to have their privacy and freedom to the fullest, but they also want to be protected fully. We as individual must give up some of our rights for the protection that we demand. I believe that there is a very thin line that separates the two.

My philosophy and approach when balancing these issues is the Kant’s deontology theory. With this theory everyone’s morality is a part of their duty. Individuals have an obligation to do what is right and to not do what is wrong. For example, killing is wrong. But, with deontology theory, if a police officer shoots and kills someone in the line of duty to either protect themselves or someone else that isn’t consider wrong. They were not intending to kill someone, they were simply protecting life. Another example, if an individual was to randomly cut up a person it would be wrong, but when a person in the criminal justice field is conducting an autopsy they are not in the wrong. They are not intending to harm someone but are trying to see why they died or how they were killed.

Rewards and punishments are part of the justice system weather good or bad. With my chosen theory neither should invoke an action form an individual. If someone must be rewarded for doing good or punished for doing wrong, they simply lack morality. Kant states “that the absence of immorality does not equal morality” (Williams & Arrigo 2012, p. 90). With this theory rewards and punishment do not have a place in the justice system.

When consider if the ends justify the means. Consequentialism theory states that if the consequences are beneficial then the action is right to a degree. Kant’s theory would be against this. For example. If an officer was to lie during an interrogation and to get a favorable result, consequentialism this would be consider right, while in Kant’s theory it would still be consider wrong. I don’t think it will always be possible to get the information from criminal without lying. I don’t see anything wrong with lying during an interrogation to help catch or clear the individual. When it comes to mean and ends, I would agree with consequentialism theory more then Kant’s theory.

Ethics of care was founded by Carol Gilligan and is based on the interest and needs of everyone in the situation. Ethics of care is about what is the caring action is. This effects law enforcement, because caring is not a big part of the system. The system is what right or wrong, not what will make someone fill better. Ethics of care would most relate to the police officers in the community, as they are the ones that come face to face with most situations were caring is required.

Peacemaking criminology is about restorative justice, instead of incarceration. With the recidivism rates and incarceration rates so high this is important. This no only give the offender the chance to change for the better life and will cost less of the tax payers money. Peacemaking criminology is looking to change the justice system for the better. This system would focus on the restitution to victims and keeping them in mind the entire time. Community programs would be a major part and help possibly transformation the offender. Although no system is perfect, it would not work with everyone. Law enforcement would be affect mainly on the judicial side and corrections side. Police officer’s jobs would stay the same maybe less crime resulting in arrest, but just a court date. This would take an adjust period but would benefit the communities greatly.

Overall, Kant’s deontology theory would play a major role my own career in law enforcement. Even thou there is no room for rewards and punishment in this theory, I think this would help me keep honest with myself on the reason behind my actions. The reason behind an person’s actions have a great effect on whether they are morally right or wrong. I picked consequentialism as the theory that is best suited for means versus end, even though some things done may be consider minorly wrong it can be for the greater good.



R. (2014, January 06). The Application of Peacemaking Criminology. Retrieved March 12, 2018, from

Barnes, R. C. (n.d.). Peacemaking Criminology: Challenges and Possibilities. Retrieved March 11, 2018, from

Deontological Ethics. (n.d.). Retrieved March 11, 2018, from

Lacewing, M. (n.d.). Kant’s deontological ethics[PDF]. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Williams, C. R., & Arrigo, B. A. (2012). Ethics, crime, and criminal justice(2nd ed.). Place of publication not identified: Prentice Hall.

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