Professional Ethics in Corrections

Professional Ethics in Corrections 

Ethical decision-making in a correctional setting impacts facility and public safety, personal and professional reputations, and the perception of corrections as a respected profession. This course will provide correctional officers and other ancillary staff working directly with offenders in jails, prisons, and community confinement facilities with information on why it is important for them to maintain ethical behavior and professional conduct. Common types of unethical behavior seen in corrections will be explored, and you will be directed to various documents your agency should have that outline agency-specific expectations and standards on professional and ethical behavior. You will also be given an opportunity to distinguish between ethical and unethical behavior through case scenarios.


Hours: 2.50


Certificates provided by accrediting body (2 Match)

California Board of State and Community Corrections


This activity is approved for 2.50 STC credit hours.

American Jail Association Certification


This activity is approved for 2.50 contact hours.

Course Details

Course Code: REL-PS-0-PEC-V2
Hours: 2.5
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 1/31/2024
Learning Objectives:
Define ethical behavior and professional conduct and explain the effect of unethical behavior within correctional facilities.
Identify at least 8 common types of unethical behavior seen in corrections.
Discuss 10 elements of ethics that can help guide ethical decision making.
Explain how an agency's mission statement, code of ethical conduct, and values/value statements can outline expectations for ethical decisions in the workplace.

Section 1: Introduction A. About This Course B. Learning Objectives Section 2: Ethical Behavior and Professional Conduct A. Priorities B. Officer Dycus C. Ethics D. Professional Conduct E. Effects of Unethical Behavior F. Your Role G. Not Just the Confined H. Common Types of Unethical Behavior I. Commission and Omission J. Review K. Summary Section 3: Elements of Ethics A. Elements of Ethics B. Taking the High Ground: Matters of Integrity C. Doing No Harm: Matters of No Maleficence D. According Dignity: Matters of Respect E. Benefiting Others: Matters of Beneficence F. Exercising Caution: Matters of Prudence G. Caring for Others: Matters of Compassion H. Seeking Fairness: Matters of Justice I. Promoting Autonomy: Matters of Self-Reliance J. Being Faithful: Matters of Fidelity K. Delivering Your Best: Matters of Excellence L. Review M. Summary Section 4: Guidance Down the Ethical Path A. Ask Yourself B. Mission Statement C. Code of Ethical Conduct D. Values/Value Statements E. How Staff Benefit F. Review G. Summary Section 5: Conclusion A. Summary B. Course Contributors C. References D. Congratulations! E. Exam F. BrainSparks

Staff Writer: Kimberly Cobb, MS
Mrs. Cobb is a Lead SME Writer/Trainer at Relias. Her primary writing responsibilities are in the Health and Human Services vertical, in the content areas of public safety and behavioral health. Mrs. Cobb is also the onboarding trainer for new Relias staff joining the Content Department. Mrs. Cobb has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Correctional and Juvenile Justice Studies and a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. She has over 24 years of experience working in criminal and juvenile justice. Her work includes direct service, research, and training and technical assistance. She was the statewide evaluator for the Commonwealth of Kentucky for adult, juvenile, and family drug courts; a Research Associate for the American Probation & Parole Association providing training and technical assistance to Native American Nations/Alaska Native Villages on systemic criminal and juvenile justice initiatives; and a Research Administrator for the University of Kentucky. Disclosure: Kimberly Cobb, MS has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Expert Reviewer: Joe Martin
Joe Martin is a career employee for the Kentucky Department of Corrections. Joe started his career as an officer in 1998. Joe was promoted to Sergeant in 2002 and to Lieutenant in 2005. Joe worked and supervised most security positions within a male and female facility while in security that include: Internal Affairs supervisor, Special Management Unit Supervisor, Shift Supervisor, Visitation Supervisor, Adjustment Committee, and Grievance Chairman. In 2012 Joe was again promoted to the Accreditation Manager. In 2013 Joe was promoted to Central Office and started in the PREA Executive department. In 2014 Joe gained his DOJ PREA auditor certification where he served as chair for many PREA Audits in Missouri and Kansas while the KY DOC was part of a consortium with several other states. During his career, he has also served as the Hostage Negotiation Team Leader and active member of the team. Joe’s accomplishments include Commissioner’s and Achievement awards for the department. Disclosure: Joe Martin has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: Correctional Officers; in the following settings: Adult Corrections, Juvenile Corrections.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
Relias has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Support by completing the web form ( or by using the chat functionality.
All courses offered by Relias, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply any endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of, or affiliation with, Relias, LLC.
All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Customer Support here.