Ethical Behavior in Corrections: Best Practices


In this course, we define the term, “ethics” and describe the two basic ethical theories. We also examine the concept of ethical or principle-based management. We define the term discretion and explain how officers can make effective ethical decisions in situations that require discretion. We discuss how principle-based management is the key to ensuring an ethical correctional institution. We will review four basic types of ethical dilemmas and three principles of ethical decision making. Finally, before making a final decision, we will discuss using ethical checklists and test our gut reaction using the bell, book, and candle technique. Making ethical decisions is often tricky, so this training includes concrete interactive exercises to help you practice what you have learned. By thinking your way through these scenarios that you may face in your own setting, this training is a giant stride toward keeping yourself – and those you supervise – safe.

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Hours: 3.00


Certificates provided by accrediting body (2 Match)

American Jail Association Certification


This activity is approved for 3.00 contact hours.

California Board of State and Community Corrections


This activity is approved for 3.00 contact hours.

Course Details

Course Code: REL-PS-0-EB
Hours: 3
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 8/31/2018
Learning Objectives:
Define the several important terms related to ethics and discuss how they impact corrections.

Explain principle-based management and the role of correctional officers in making it work.

Describe at least one principle for ethical decision-making and list four guidelines for ensuring ethical behavior in the workplace.

Defining Ethics
A. Good Faith
B. Making the Case for Following Ethical Principles
C. Two Approaches to Ethics
D. Let's Review!
Principle-Based Management
A. Creating an Environment for Principle-Based Management
B. Making Principle-Based Management Work
C. Let's Review
Reasonable Rule Enforcers
A. Anticipating the Consequences
B. Using Discretion
C. Meeting the Test of Justification
D. Dealing with Discretion
E. Let's Review
The Four Steps to Making Good Moral Judgments
A. An Example...
B. A Helpful Formula for Implementing the Four Steps
C. A Scenario
D. Notes to Remember...
E. Let's Review
Ethical Decision-Making
A. Overview of Ethical Decision-Making
B. Why Should We Be Ethical?
C. The Loyalty Tug of War
D. Two Sets of Styles
E. Gilbert's Styles of Corrections Officers
F. Farkas' Styles of Corrections Officers
G. Three Additional Styles
H. Let's Review
Dilemmas and Paradigms
A. Principles for Decision Making
B. Let's Review
Ethical Checklists
A. The Bell, the Book, and the Candle
B. Case Studies In Ethical Decision-Making
C. Case #1: Here is What the Court Had To Say
D. Case #2: Abuse of Offenders
E. Case #3: Inappropriate Behavior Toward Offenders
F. Case #4: Request for Favors
G. Case #5: Misuse of Identification
Obstacles for Ethical Behavior
A. Making Excuses
B. Ensuring Protection
C. Improper Relationships with Offenders
D. Maintaining Loyalty to Peers
E. Let's Practice!
F. Receiving an Emotional Benefit
G. Receiving a Physical Benefit
H. Let's Review
Guidelines for Behaving Ethically
A. Maintaining Loyalty to Peers
B. Let's Practice!
Take A Moment to Reflect on What You Learned...

Staff Writer: Diane Geiman
Ms. Geiman is ACA’s Online Training Administrator. She also serves as the Academy’s instructional curriculum developer. Ms. Geiman has more than 20 years of experience in developing training programs for criminal justice professionals, including lesson plans, multimedia training programs, and print and online courses. She has received numerous awards for both print curricula and comprehensive video programs on topics such as criminal and juvenile justice, medical and mental health, supervision, management, and law. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland. Disclosure: Diane Geiman has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
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Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous Distance Learning with interactivity which includes quizzes with questions/answers, and posttests.
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