Individual rights and the public protection

Individual rights and the public protection

Individual rights and the public protection

Explain your philosophy and approach for balancing these two (2) issues: individual rights and the public’s protection. 

Explain your philosophy and approach for balancing of these two (2) issues: use of reward and punishment in criminal justice. 

Explain your philosophy and approach for balancing the use of immoral means (e.g., lying in interrogation) to accomplish desirable ends. 

Recommend at least three (3) ways to use ethics in decision making about these issues in criminal justice.

Individual rights and the public protection

My Philosophy and Approach to Criminal Justice Issues


Criminal justice constitutes a very crucial part of any country since it is a system of institutions and practices of governments aimed at upholding social control as well as mitigating and deterring crime. However, ethics in criminal justice provides us with ways of making moral choices during uncertainties concerning what to do in situations that involve moral issues (Garland, 2002). Hence, in everyday operations of the criminal justice systems, moral rules or ethics are highly necessary, not because of expressing absolute truth, but their role in helping to uphold ethical conduct in criminal justice issues. 

My philosophy and approach for balancing individual rights and the public’s protection

Everyone has his/her individual rights which must be respected but striking a good balance must be attained when they conflict with public protection. This is because despite the priority and supremacy given to individual rights of someone, nobody should be allowed to endanger the public on basis of individual rights because public protection is also of eminent significance (Hinman, 1998). Thus, my philosophy and approach towards the best ways of balancing between individual rights and public’s protection is that, at all time individual rights should be given priority but without unnecessarily threatening public protection (Garland, 2002).

For example, my philosophy and approach to freedom of interaction and expression as individual rights is that, they should be given a top priority but whenever it’s evident that someone is putting the public at risk, then public protection should prevail and these individual rights should be withdrawn. Fuller (2005) reiterates that an individual is part of the public and upholding individual rights eventually results to public protection. For instance, in case of an outbreak of potentially deadly epidemics which are a threat to the public, individual rights such as freedom of movement may be suspended through quarantines in order to prevent the spread of the disease to the general public in other places. This should also apply in case some people are potentially dangerous to the public.

My philosophy and approach for balancing use of reward and punishment in criminal justice

The society has developed criminal justice to allow people live with others without violating their liberty, and in case of violation of these laws punishment is almost the usual measure. Use of rewards in criminal justice is very rare, and the only well known reward is to refrain from committing crimes and avoiding punishment (Walker, 1980). Therefore, options to use rewards are severely diminished in our criminal justice system. However, my philosophy and approach is that, both rewards and punishment should be used in promoting good behaviours. For example, persons who have not severely stumbled into the criminal justice system, the rewards should be used to rehabilitate them whereas in severe cases punishment should prevail. 

My philosophy and approach for balancing the use of immoral means to accomplish desirable ends

My philosophy and approach is that, at all times the criminal justice should refrain from using an immoral mean to accomplish desirable ends. These immoral means such as torture, coercion, lying in interrogation and verbal trickery should be strongly shunned because they don’t align with ethics which should be governing criminal justice (Fuller, 2005). Hence honesty and transparency should be maintained at all times irrespective of whether desirable ends will be accomplished, after all criminal justice is about ensuring justice prevails but not convenience.

Ways to use ethics in decision making about issues in criminal justice

Holmes (1998) argues that when faced with criminal justice ethical dilemmas the first thing to use is our intuitive level of moral thinking because it provides us with principles which are relatively simple and derived from our past experiences of decision making.  Moreover, the use of ethics in criminal justice issues also requires critical thinking which applies principles established by moral concepts and philosophy. Thus, when making decisions on issues of criminal justice, we may require application of both intuitive and non-intuitive forms of thinking to identify the most effective and ethical courses of action in making decisions on issues of criminal justice ethical dilemmas (Hinman, 1998). Hence there are several ways on how ethics can be used in decisions about issues of criminal justice.

Firstly, the initial appropriate way to use ethics in making decisions on criminal justice issues is to make sure there is collection of all the relevant facts and knowledge to aid decision making (Wolfgang, 1990). This is crucial to enable making informed decisions.  Secondly, the other way to use ethics in making decisions about criminal justice is to ensure that you apply the necessary ethical principles, theories and approaches to guide for the most appropriate course of action. Thirdly, identification of available options should take place followed by selection of the most appropriate for the criminal justice issue under consideration (Fuller, 2005). Considering these factors will allow someone to choose the option that is most ethically appropriate. 


In conclusion, it is evident that ethics is undoubtedly the most crucial component of criminal justice, and there is a need to uphold ethics in the practice and operations of our criminal justice systems. Hence the right philosophy and approaches should be embraced in the course of addressing all the issues of criminal justices in order to ensure that efficiency, honesty and transparency is maintained. 


Fuller, J. R. (2005). Criminal Justice: Mainstream and Crosscurrents. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Garland, D. (2002). Of Crimes and Criminals. In Maguire, Mike, Rod Morgan, Robert Reiner. The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, 3rd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hinman, L. (1998). Ethics: A Pluralistic Approach to Moral Theory.  Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace.

Holmes, R. (1998). Basic Moral Philosophy (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Walker, S. (1980). Popular Justice: A History of American Criminal Justice. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc.

Wolfgang, M. (1990). Crime and Punishment in Renaissance Florence. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 81(3), 567–84. 

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