Kohlberg moral development stages

Kohlberg moral development stages
Kohlberg moral development stages

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Kohlberg moral development stages

Explain how the concept of justice relates to the field of criminal justice, emphasizing how it should be applied by law enforcement officers. Explain three (3) ways Kohlberg Moral Development stages can be applied to the evaluation of three (3) types of criminals who are at different stages of moral development. Recommend three (3) effective and ethical methods of deterrence for the selected criminals.

(One (1) method for each criminal.) Recommend ways to use ethics to improve decision making in the criminal justice system. Explain why and how the concept of justice is important to the field of criminal justice. Explain Kohlberg’s moral development stages and how they can be applied to issues in criminal justice. Use technology and information resources to research issues in ethics and leadership in criminal justice. Write clearly and concisely about ethics and leadership in criminal justice using proper writing mechanics.The concept of Justice


Justice can be defined as a system of laws in a society that bestows every individual his or her natural and legal rights. It encompasses both the concept of equality where everyone is equal before the law and also the concept of equity where one is rewarded on the basis of his efforts.

Kohlberg moral development stages

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Relation between justice and criminal justice.

Justice brings about rule of law in the society (Colleen, 2008). The law enforcement officers are allowed to investigate a suspect of wrongdoing and then make an arrest. These officers are allowed to use force in effecting public and social order and if a suspect is dangerous they are allowed to use legal means of coercion to arrest him. This means a suspect can be denied some of his rights in an effort to protect the whole society. The police are empowered to enforce all aspects of criminal law on the basis of their mission and jurisdiction.

Evaluation of three types of criminals using Kohlberg’s stages of moral development.

The pre-social criminal easily gives in to his mind’s strong impulses to commit an act.  The criminal is in the pre conventional stage of development and is not bothered by the consequences of his actions (Cherry, 2002). This behavior is most prevalent in children who have not yet internalized the requirements and moral standards that one is supposed to uphold in society.

The anti social criminal acts in pursuit of what is in his best interest. The criminal is in the conventional stage of moral development and knows very well that his actions are in contravention to society morals and norms. The criminal has a harsh super ego to attain his intentions regardless of the consequences.

The asocial criminal is not loyal to any ideals of the society. He is in the post conventional stage of moral development and considers that individuals are separate entities from the society. Their own perspective must take precedence over the society’s perspectives.

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Deterrence methods for the three types of criminals.

 The pre- social criminal should be empowered through training so as he can access his needs through legal means. The societal norms and practices should be inculcated in him through advice and follow up.

The anti social criminal should be deterred through environmental designs that predispose all violent acts. Such measures include installation of surveillance devices and territorial reinforcements.

The asocial criminal can be deterred through being disciplined through the criminal laws that are applicable in a society. This is mainly through sentences in courts of law. 

Kohlberg’s stages of moral development help the criminal justice system identify the intention behind the commitment of various types of crimes (Baker, 2011). There are those who commit crime out of necessity as portrayed in the Heinz dilemma. There are others who commit crimes to satisfy their ego and are not aware of the underlying consequences. This is mainly prevalent in juvenile crimes that are committed by children.

They do not know fully what is expected of them by the society. There are others who commit crimes because they take it as their right. They do not mind what the society will think of them. They commit crimes to satisfy their satiable thirst to achieve their goals. Such crimes are mainly committed by mass murderers who are only out to achieve their wishes no matter how heinous.  


Baker, M (2011). “Stages of Moral Development” (Online) Available from http://www.csudh.edu/dearhabermas/kohlberg01bk.htm (Accessed on 11th August 2012)

Cherry, K  (2002). “Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development” (Online) Available fromhttp://psychology.about.com/od/developmentalpsychology/a/kohlberg.html (Accessed 11th August 2012) 

Colleen, R (20008). “Criminal Justice” (Online) Available from http://www.princeton.edu/research/faculty  (Accessed on 11th August 2012)

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