****Pick one of the pre approved topics below ****
Demonstrate the ability to make ethical decisions as it relates to criminal justice
• Develop critical thinking skills to analyze ethical issues
• Analyze ethical dilemmas
• Discuss ethics and the criminal justice professional
Student Learning Outcomes:
• Write a well written position paper
• Analyze a specific ethical dilemma that effects criminal justice policy or law
• Incorporate high quality sources • Provide appropriate evidence for claims
• Apply ethical theory where appropriate
• Write in a clear, well organized paper in APA format
The final course requirement for is a final paper on applied criminal justice ethics, of approximately 4-5 pp. double spaced in length. This paper should be a statement and defense of what you think about some controversial moral and/or social issue from the list of allowable topics or approved topics. I have chosen to restrict the allowable topics to rule out those topics that have such well-established and publicly known arguments that no serious thought need go into producing the paper. You must use evidence including moral theory, academic research, or related personal experience to establish evidence within your paper. Important:If you want to choose a topic,not on the list, you must clear it with me first. The final paper will be graded primarily on the following criteria:
• Having a clear and identifiable thesis statement
• Provision of support for that thesis statement through arguments and/or evidence. Most of the grade will be based on this element, so be sure to elaborate your arguments and evidence fully.
• Standard academic paper guidelines. I expect the paper to be proofread for spelling and grammar. I expect the paper to be structured and organized—treat it no differently than you would treat a paper for a composition course. If you need help with this, please use the academic achievement center. It is a great resource, and the people there are trained to help you. Some general guidelines to follow:
• Pick a topic where you feel there is room for reasonable disagreement. Do not pick a topic where you would consider those who disagree with you to be irrationalor demonic.
• Defend what you really think. Do not feel the need to pigeon-hole yourself into a preset option on your topic. If what you really think is ‘Capital punishment should be allowed only to punish crimes against humanity’, THIS is what you should defend.
• Bear in mind that a thesis statement does not have to be a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to your topic problem. For example, ‘The abortion debate is irresolvable’ is a perfectly legitimate thesis statement.
• Topics, where you have relevant personal experience,are recommended. Your experience will often give you a perspective on the issue that others lack.
• If you use outside sources, including research studies or statistical data, be sure to cite them using APA style
• While it is not required of you to address potential objections, recognizing weaknesses and potential objections will always make the paper better as it indicates the level of serious thought put into the paper.
• Do not be afraid of admitting ignorance, especially in responding to the ideas of others.
• Avoid replacing arguments with examples. Use examples to illustrate a general claim, not as a replacement for them. Examples by themselves tend toward selection bias and hasty generalizations.
• Avoid, where possible, “we” language. Talking about what “we” believe tends toward hasty generalizations and loaded language. Our tendency to overestimate the degree to which others agree with us is a well-established cognitive fallacy. • I am interested in content, not clever rhetorical flourish. Thus, avoid filler material, especially at the beginning of the paper. No paper should start with anything like ‘Abortion is one of the most controversial issues facing us today’ or ‘Since the beginning of time, man has wondered whether…’ Write for a reasonably well educated audience.
Pre-approved Topics (By General Topic Area)
Let me know if you have other suggestions
Criminal Justice Agency Ethics
• When, if ever, is whistleblowing morally permissible?
• Should agencies be required to provide child-care services?
• Are affirmative action policies in hiring morally acceptable?
• Should criminal justice agencies be allowed to require or forbid certain behaviors by their employees in their private lives?
• Should capital punishment be allowed for the mentally ill or handicapped?
• Should capital punishment be allowed for minors?
• How, if at all, should capital punishment be used in international law?
• What reparations (if any) does the federal government owe African-Americans for slavery?
• What reparations (if any) does the federal government owe Native Americans for genocide and theft of land?
• Should there be harsher penalties for “white collar” crimes?
• What obligations do we owe to someone contemplating suicide?
• Should hate speech be protected?
• When and where (if ever) can public smoking be prohibited?
• Should recreational marijuana (or another currently illegal drug) use be legalized?
• Are random drug tests permissible?
• Should the U.S. outlaw Holocaust denial?
• Are laws that protect us from our own dangerous behaviors (such as seatbelt or helmet laws) morally acceptable?
• Is it ever permissible to censor art?
War, Terrorism and Humanitarian Intervention
• Should rights ever be curtailed in times of war?
• Should rights ever be curtailed if it aids in the “war on terrorism”?
• When (if ever) is it permissible to declare war?
• Is torture ever morally permissible?