Ethics Midterm

Question 1

The law enforcement department provides the opportunity for the rest of the community to have a sense of security since it ensures that the wrongdoers are arrested and convicted. It is also ethical to secure that people are not subjected to bias and discrimination in any way amidst diversification of races and cultures. Therefore, this is the reason as to why the newly hired chief of police will develop three ways that will overcome both bias and discrimination in the law enforcement agency (Ross, 2008). Firstly, he/she will have to raise awareness in relation to the biases that have been highlighted among all the members of the police force, which may be done through training that will enable officials to understand how the brain can create stereotyping and to act professionally.

Secondly, he/she would consider the transformation of conversation between the community and the police (Keesee, 2015). The police department ought to hire members of the public in order to have their representation and this will help in the gathering of intelligence. It will show non-bias to the society and the latter will easily air their dissatisfaction. Besides, this has been implemented in the state of Ohio where a relation contract has been signed between the police and the community thus enhancing the understanding on how the two divides ought to interact (Ross, 2008). Finally, the chief of police will have to introduce policies that lower the adversities that may arise from preconceptions and discrimination. For example, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department realizes that it was perceived to be biased in one aspect of their operation that involved chasing of the men of color and they had to develop a policy stipulating that the pursuant officer was not to be the one to handcuff the suspect (Keesee, 2015). Hence, this adjustment helped in reducing the strong emotion of terror previously felt by both the accused and the police. Therefore, these three adjustments will promote fairness and equality in the society.

Question 2

Members of the society expect that officers of the law will be fair, honest and full of integrity but police culture has been characterized by unethical practices that include corruption, prejudice and misconduct (MacVean & Neyroud, 2012). Corruption has embraced alteration of evidence; prejudice has been associated with the racial profiling while misconduct has been related with the instances of violation of suspects’ human rights. Nevertheless, there are some of the specific activities that have been repeatedly done by police thus making it their culture. Firstly, there was the 1990 incidence that attracted global attention whereby the two officers from New York Police Department were involved in the brutalization of Abner Louima who was a Haitian immigrant. He had been arrested and taken to the station after the nightclub brawl when one officer Charles Schwarz put him in bathroom, as his partner Justin Volpe sodomized the detained man using a broomstick.

Secondly, there is the incidence of the largest scope of corruption in the United States. The occurrence is associated with about seventy officers that were believed to have been involved in evidence tampering and planting of evidence among the rampant officers. Thus, this scandal led to the reversal of the convictions and cost lawsuits settlement of over $125 million (Covey, 2013). Another case has been attributed to prejudices of the police, and this incorporated the use of excessive force towards an African American man Donovan Jackson. The police brutally slammed him into the truck before punching him severally in the face. The misconduct investigation was conducted and confirmed that officer of the law Morse was accused of misconduct and thus charged with assault ("Police misconduct: After the Rodney King incident", n.d.). He was later prosecuted and terminated from the police department while Jackson filed a lawsuit over the violation of his rights. It is evident that most of the police officers are professional and perform their mandate in accordance with the law but the small fraction are more conspicuous to the public hence creating a negative perception.

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Question 3

The police force has been involved in various cases of racial prejudice that have mostly targeted the blacks to such an extent that the society starts to question whether these incidences have a correlation to a systemic racial discrimination in the justice system. Therefore, this issue has raised critical issues that have led to a thorough investigation of the matter. The research has been conducted and has shown that largely the racial discrimination within the criminal justice system is systematic. Moreover, this unethical practice has resulted in the lack of confidence among individuals in the society, as many people believe that their skin color makes them more likely to be imprisoned than the committed crime (Rosich, 2007). It also determines the penalty. If one’s color is black, then he/she will be prosecuted harshly while the whites will be treated better. Hence, this is the reason why the blacks are overrepresented in prisons despite their smaller population compared to the whites (MacDonald, 2008). Additionally, this proves that the blacks are not convicted because they commit more offenses but because the system has enforced stricter standards on them. It is also evident that both whites and blacks are arrested, charged and even convicted in a different way with regard to similar offenses. 

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According to the evidence-based research, the arrest stage points to the fact that the blacks are only 12.6% of the American population but they represent 38.9% of those incarcerated (MacDonald, 2008). At the conviction stage, they represent 37.9% of all inmates while non-Hispanic whites amounting to 64% of American population constitute only 32% of all prisoners (MacDonald, 2008). Thus, this systematic profiling is evident in that the incarceration rate among the black males is 3,074 per 100,000 compared to 459 per 100,000 people among the whites (MacDonald, 2008). Therefore, it is clear that the justice system is systematic in racial profiling and that one’s skin color will contribute to the chances of them being arrested; consequently, they will find themselves in the jail.

Question 4

Bargaining plea allows a suspect to confess to his/her wrongdoing with the anticipation of being offered a reduced sentence. Once the accused pleads guilty to allow the case to be heard by the trial, the jury has the power to determine the reduction of conviction. Hence, it has been proven that both gender and race play a crucial role in terms of deciding whether one's sentence will be reduced and by how many years (Devers, 2011). The research has shown that these two characteristics provide for the high probability of sentence reduction upon agreeing to bargained plea by the suspect. The blacks are less likely to be offered the reduced sentence even after bargained plea compared to the representatives of other races, and this can be associated with the systematic justice system that has incorporated racial profiling (Devers, 2011). Therefore, this means that the judges conform to the stereotypes towards the African American. For instance, the minorities who plead guilty to the offenses involving burglary are 20% more likely to be given the same sentence without reduction by contrast to the Caucasians (Edkins, 2010). It has been identified that gender is not a significant determinant of the sentence reduction.

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The judges are not biased along the gender line and will treat the black women in the same way they treat the black men as well as equate male whites to their female counterparts. It is, therefore, a question of whether the individual is white or not. The socioeconomic factor is another factor that determines whether the sentence will be reduced. The minorities who have low income are believed to commit crime more often due to poverty; thus, the judges consider long incarceration period will benefit the society, as the imprisonment of lawbreakers will lower the crime rate (Devers, 2011). Consequently, it is evident that the justice system will significantly reduce the sentence for the whites and will most likely not lower or slightly lower it for the blacks for the same offense.

Question 5

The studies that have been conducted in terms of social sciences have shown that humans are imperfect in decision-making, and this has made them suffer from the cognitive biases. The latter are experienced from the investigation stage until the very prosecution. The greatest challenge in most cases has been a failure to remember this and instead of seeking clarification, one uses the systematically stereotypic information stored in the mind and states that as a fact (Bowman, 2013). In this case, an individual will be mistakenly arrested on the pretext that he/she is black; therefore, it is only a black person that can be associated with crime. Implicit biases make the officer of the law behave unprofessionally, and the decision made is not evidence-based but prejudicial.

The judges are not different and they will discriminate along the racial lines. It will be common for a judge to confirm that an African American individual is guilty even before cross-examining the evidence (Bowman, 2013). The cognitive bias, however, has its limits and will be altered at some point in the event that the black person is rich, educated and lives in high profile places. In this case, he/she is treated with respect and will be less associated with crime. Thus, it is evident that the cognitive bias will also determine the punishment. It is out of the failure of the judge to cross-examine the evidence that will most likely impose a harsh punishment on an innocent citizen. It is also believed that the blacks belong in prison and they will be given longer sentences compared to representatives of other races. The cognitive bias is displayed more within the justice system than in the overall society. The interaction with the justice system has proved to be the most discriminative and prone to the cognitive bias (Lynch, 2015). In other areas, the blacks will interact with the rest of the community freely without the fear of discrimination but when it comes to the justice system, they are terrified by knowing they can be arrested even without the apparent reason.

 

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