Essay Assignment on Ethical Decision Making Processes in Criminal Justice


The ethics awareness inventory (EAI) score is a tool used to help us understand the way we approach ethical dilemmas in our daily lives. The more we understand this tool the more we can utilize it effectively in making ethical choices (Pollock, 2012). This essay describes my ethical learning style as reflected by EAI score as well as how each style applies to making ethical decisions in criminal justice.

My ethical learning style

From the EAI summary score, my ethical learning style indicates that my ethical profile aligns closely to character and aligns least to equity. This means that I am likely to rely heavily on the character of a person when evaluating whether that person is likely to act ethically or unethically. According to this score, I believe that ethics depends largely on people’s abilities to make ethical choices. Accordingly, I do not believe that people should solely depend on pre-set standards when making ethical choices, but they should also rely on their characters. This is in relation to the fact that I believe that people should put greater emphasis on their characters such as integrity, wisdom, and honesty when making ethical choices than they should do on pre-set standards. For me, a person would be incapable of making ethical choices if that person does not rely on his/her characters. For this reason, I expect people working in criminal justice to strive towards developing their characters as they follow pre-set standards in ethics (Prenzler, 2009).   

Relationship to criminal justice  

Character is an important style in criminal justice because it helps people working in criminal justice field to evaluate the outcomes of any action beyond the action itself. For this reason, when a person with this style is asked to evaluate whether a person’s action is ethical or not, that person tends to look beyond the action itself. This means that the person looks at the person’s character to decide whether the person has acted ethically or unethically. The emphasis of this style is that people should not only rely on pre-set principles and standards when making ethical choices, but they should also rely on their characters to do so (Pollock, 2012). As a result, compliance to rules is not the only mean that justifies ethical choices, but characters also play this role as well.

Obligation relates to criminal justice in the sense that each person working in this profession has a duty or a responsibility to accomplish. In other words, one cannot work in this profession without accomplishing something. In terms of making ethical choices, we evaluate the person’s obligation and intent in criminal justice to determine whether that person is ethical or unethical. In this respect, ethical principles should respect human dignity, be appropriate at all circumstances and be committed to advancing freedom and autonomy. Accordingly, human beings should not be treated as means of accomplishing one’s obligation. On the contrary, they should be treated with dignity because the results do not justify the means.

Results are important components in criminal justice because they reflect the consequences of one’s actions. For this reason, any action should be directed towards promoting greatest good for the majority of the people. In terms of making ethical choices, discussions about principles and processes are not as important as what is ultimately achieved after those discussions. As a result, the goal of ethics should be to promote the well-being of the society or the majority of the people (Prenzler, 2009). When making ethical choices as a team, people should evaluate the satisfaction that results from the ethical choice. If majority of the people are happy with it, then the team should go for this choice, and vice versa.

Finally, equity is important in criminal justice because it helps experts in this profession to evaluate their courses of actions from different perspectives. A person that upholds this attribute believes that education is not the only means of providing ethical choices. Instead, there are other means that can help a team to evaluate its ethical choices. For example, daily experiences and cultural factors are evaluated in making ethical choices because education alone is not enough in making ethical choices. In this respect, when making ethical choices, team members should not restrict themselves to one ethical principle. Instead, they should evaluate different ethical principles so that they can come up with the best choice (Pollock, 2012).           

Working with people with different working styles

My EAI score indicates that people use different ethical perspectives when analyzing ethical issues. This may relate to the information these people might have about their organizations as well as the priorities they give to organizational and personal values. Accordingly, when working with people with different working styles, I would not restrict myself to one ethical viewpoint as my EAI score indicates. On the contrary, I would open up to different ethical perspectives. This means that if I evaluate ethical dilemmas from utilitarian viewpoint, then I would not expect that all people should evaluate ethical dilemmas from this perspective. On the contrary, I would expect that each person might have his/her way of evaluating ethical dilemmas (Prenzler, 2009). Accordingly, I would expect different approaches to ethical dilemmas that we might face working together. In particular, I would be more open to dialogue with my colleagues when solving ethically related issues. Doing this would help my workmates and I to deal with ethical dilemmas more effectively than it would do if I were to restrict myself to one ethical perspective.

In addressing this issue, Pollock claims that each one of us makes choices that can be evaluated by other people under ethical standards. She further states that those of us working in criminal justice should be careful when dealing with ethical issues arising out of this profession because we deal with issues that affect the lives of other people (Pollock, 2012). In relation to this fact, it would be wrong to restrict our ethical perspectives to one perspective when we know that each person has his/her own method of evaluating ethical dilemma. Based on this fact, I would not pick one ethical perspective and expect that my colleagues in criminal justice should evaluate ethical dilemmas using that perspective. If I would do this, then I would be denying my colleagues the chances to exercise their expertise in this profession. In addition, I would be violating some principles in this profession. For this reason, when working with people that have different working styles, I would allow them to approach ethical dilemmas differently as I would do. By so doing, I would appreciate the fact even though consistency is good; it does not apply in all cases.


In conclusion, although my learning score indicates that I am likely to depend on one ethical perspective when making ethical choices, I have learned that I should not do so. I have learned that people use different approaches when making ethical choices. Accordingly, I would not restrict my colleagues to one approach when working with them.


Pollock, J. (2012). Ethical dilemmas and decisions in criminal justice. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Prenzler, T. (2009). Ethics and accountability in criminal justice: Towards a universal standard. Bowen Hills, Old: Australian Academic Press.