People should conform to the norms of ethics to create a world of equality where every person could feel secure and happy. In some professions, ethical requirements are higher than in others since they presuppose close cooperation with people and can impact these people’s lives greatly. It is vital to organize an ethical approach to the profession in law enforcement officers so that they could perform their duties without any biases or prejudices.
We will write a custom Research Paper on Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development in Justice System specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Three Levels of Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development
Kohlberg’s stage theory of moral development is based on Piaget’s psychological theory and presupposes that people are driven by the intent-based concept of morality (Cushman, Sheketoff, Wharton, & Carey, 2013). Kohlberg identifies three levels of moral development: pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional. At the pre-conventional level, the sense of morality is controlled by external forces. People obey the authority rules, and they evaluate actions by their outcomes (Skisland, Bjørnestad, & Söderhamn, 2012). At the conventional level, the individuals’ sense of morality is closely associated with the approval from society.
At the post-conventional level, there is a combination of ethical principles and personal evaluation of their morality (Skisland et al., 2012). To address these levels within my department, I will use moral dilemmas. Such an approach will help me to identify what level of moral development the law enforcement officers have. Kohlberg’s stage theory presupposes that people can develop either personally or with the help of educational interventions (Skisland et al., 2012). Therefore, if I find out that some employees do not have sufficient moral development, I will introduce learning programs to help them.
The Use of Kohlberg’s Stages in the Evaluation of Three Types of Criminals
Law enforcement officers can apply Kohlberg’s theory to evaluate criminals. For instance, juvenile delinquents are usually driven by stage 1 or 2 (pre-conventional level). Thus, the officers might understand the reasoning of young criminals based on the established rules in which the latter beliefs.
Burglars, whose predominant level of morality is conventional, tend to consider the opinion of the society on their actions. The law enforcement officers may use this attitude to explain to these criminals that their behavior is highly disapproved by the citizens.
The financial fraudster is governed by the post-conventional way of thinking. These criminals decide what is good and what is bad based on a combination of their personal beliefs as the established moral principles. For instance, such criminals may choose to steal some money from a bank with the help of financial machinations because they believe that the state has treated them unfairly. For such cases, law enforcement officers should educate the citizens about the consequences of such actions. People should be instructed that no matter how fair or unfair they consider the laws, they will be inevitably punished for breaking them.
Ways of Addressing Self-Interest and Pursuit of Pleasure to Avoid Police Corruption
The first way of addressing self-interest is organizing promotional programs in which the officers would realize the importance of their job and its dignity. The second method is allowing the employees to take part in the decision-making process, which would make them feel satisfied with the authorities’ appraisal of their opinions. The third approach to preventing corruption is a regular initiation of educational programs and interventions to make the officers feel interested in and proud of their work.
Three Prima Facie Duties to Be Fulfilled by Law Enforcement Officers
The three most crucial duties for law enforcement officers are justice, harm-prevention, and nonmaleficence. I believe all officers should fulfill these obligations since their primary task is to organize a society based on justice and equality. Officers should take care of preventing harm and do their best to help the citizens maintain their health and happiness.
Ethical norms are necessary to be followed by every person. The law enforcement officers’ duty is to educate the citizens about these norms and to correspond to them as well. Kohlberg’s stages of moral development help to identify the problems and find solutions to them.
Cushman, F., Sheketoff, R., Wharton, S., & Carey, S. (2013). The development of intent-based moral judgment. Cognition, 127(1), 6-21.
Skisland, A., Bjørnestad, J. O., & Söderhamn, O. (2012). Construction and testing of the moral development scale for professionals (MDSP). Nurse Education Today, 32(2), 255-260.