Ethics in criminal justice can be defined as a form of art that examines principles and rules which are adhered to in making judgments concerning various offenses in a nation. Criminal justice ethics involves the principles and ethical rules that govern judges decisions in courts. There are two major ethical theories. These are deontological and teleological views to ethics. This paper therefore discusses how deontological ethics is applied to criminal justice.

Deontological Ethics
This theory encompasses moral rules that are normally non-consequential in approach. When the consequences of an action are not taken into account for any decision made, the rule will remain the rule regardless of the consequences. This theory considers the outcome of the decision as part of the initial decision process to avoid harsh outcomes. It advices that one must do things regardless of the circumstances or consequences considered to be a threat.

Application of Deontological Ethics in Criminal Justice
As illustrated earlier, deontological ethics highly bases on the action of the accused person. Actions that are inherently good but have bad consequences are still judged to be good. There are various types of deontological ethics. They include natural law, ethical formalism and finally religion. In ethical formalism, the accused persons intentions are thoroughly analyzed.

 For instance, Mary visits her neighbor only to find him struggling for breath and having chest pains. She quickly knows that her neighbor is suffering from heart attack. She calls the police who take some time before arriving. She remembers that her friend had told her of a similar situation where an aspirin tablet saved the situation. She rushes and buys an aspirin tablet and gives it to her neighbor.

The police arrive and take her neighbor to hospital but he is confirmed dead on arrival. After carrying out an autopsy, it is revealed that her neighbor reacted with the aspirin tablet and this caused his death and not the heart attack as she had thought. According to ethical formalism, she had the right intentions though there were bad consequences. This therefore resulted in the court ruling in her favor since it was ascertained that she had the right intentions.

It considers a wrong to be a wrong and a right to be a right no matter what the consequences are. In the recent past, there was the issue of Saddam Hussein who was put to death for accusations of diverse crimes to humanity. Looking at this aspect in the light of ethical formalism shows that it is wrong and that murder cannot be justified no matter what the reasons behind it.

Religion aspect of deontological ethics looks at an action carried out in the light of Gods will. This is where criminal justice is carried out after considering the action taken in relation to the Ten Commandments. This aspect of deontological theory usually faces a lot of criticism considering the fact that a nation can have diverse religions.

It is however highly applied in countries that are mono-religion based. That is, Muslim or purely Christian nations etc. For instance, a politician who goes out giving money to the poor and demands them to vote back is considered wrong since he has used the act of giving to the poor as a bribe for his personal gain.

The other aspect of deontological ethics is natural law. In this case, whatever is naturally acceptable is judged to be good. This is highly applicable in criminal justice carried out in many nations. This concept asserts that any action that is natural is good. For instance, if someone defends himself and in the process injures the attacker, then his action is considered good because it is natural.

An example is whereby a woman was tilling her land with her co-wifes nine months old baby and decided to place her in a nearby shade. When she went to check on her, she found a big snake just about to attack the child. In panic, she picked her hoe and threw towards the snake. The hoe missed the snake and instead hit the baby on the head. The child died on the spot.

Her co-wife accused her of murder but the court ruled in favor because of the aspect of the natural law. This is because she threw the hoe as an act of defending the baby which was a natural act. This is because a passerby witnessed the incident and confirmed that the snake was just about to attack the child. He later on killed it and showed it to the court.

Research has shown that the deontological ethics is highly applicable in criminal justice issues. Deontological ethics considers an action moral or immoral basing on the initial action and not the resultant consequences. There are various forms of deontological ethics. They include natural law, ethical formalism and religion.

 According to ethical formalism, an action is considered right or wrong depending on the initial intentions. If the intention was good, then the accused is not punished and vice versa. Religion judges actions in the light of the word of God. This is mostly in relation to the Ten Commandments. In this case, anything that is not backed by the word of God is wrong. The last is the concept of natural law. This is whereby whatever is naturally acceptable is judged to be good. It is highly used in criminal justice system of many nations across the globe.


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